Bird Flu in Patna

I was traveling when I read a small write-up on the front page of the leading Delhi newspaper about the bird flu threat in Patna. Patna zoo is closed from 25th December till further notice. Till now seven peafowls and a khalij pheasant have died in the zoo. Tests performed in Kolkata and Bhopal has confirmed the presence of H5N1 virus.



The College of Arts and Crafts, Patna; popularly known as Patna Arts College is also closed from January 3. This move was made after around 12 birds, including crows, dove and eagle were found dead in college premise. 



The government has assured that the situation is under control and there is no fear of bird flu spreading among human beings.


These days whenever I go to a party, people ask – “Are you eating chicken?”.


The truth is bird flu, technically known as Avian influenza, is not spread by eating properly cooked poultry and eggs.


Even if the poultry is contaminated, cooking it above 70° Celsius kills the virus. If you are eating an egg, then avoid preparation that has a runny yolk. The egg should be properly cooked.


The first case of bird flu in human was reported in Hong Kong in 1997. The cause of the spread was the handling of infected poultry. Thus, we should take care that we wash our hands properly at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry or eggs. 


Let’s hope that the spread of the H5N1 virus is controlled soon. Till then don’t panic and take precautions while eating chicken and eggs.



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