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Avian Bird flu yet again

In just a month over India declaring itself free of Avian influenza (H5N1), the Deer Park in South Delhi and Delhi Zoo have been shut following the deaths of certain “local migratory” water birds. Avian influenza is commonly known as bird flu and usually spreads from bird to bird. But it may also spread from birds to humans after constant physical contact, which though rare, is fatal in nature. There is no vaccine against H5N1. India is one of the six nations in which avian influenza keeps resurfacing in birds. According to WHO, there is no evidence that the disease may spread through properly cooked food. Thus, it is safe to eat cooked chicken and eggs.  In all cases, “controlling the disease in animals is the first step in decreasing the risks to humans”. The symptoms of an H5N1 are similar to other seasonal flu – body ache, fever, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue etc. According to Zoo authorities, the nine dead birds found in zoo were local migratory birds. Generally, migratory birds like water ducks are the most common carriers of bird flu. In any case, India has started stocking up Tamiflu/Oseltamivir and ensuring adequate availability of flu masks and trained health professionals.

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