Avian influenza [Bird Flu] | H5 N1 Virus | UPSC
Bird flu deaths on the rise, environment ministry issues guidelines
WHY IN NEWS:
As many as 250 crows in Rajasthan, 1,700 migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh have died since December 2020
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Diseases
BIRDS ON A STRICT VIGIL
- The Union Ministry of Environment, Science and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has ordered a strict vigil on the wintering habitats of migratory birds for any sign of a flu outbreak.
- Many birds migrate to India every year during the winters for food, breeding and nesting.
- The ministry requests all states / Union territories to take all possible measures / precautions to prevent the transmission of diseases.
- The guidelines have asked all states to report to the Union ministry every week.
- It also laid down protocols for personal and bird care as well as monitoring of migratory birds.
- The influenza virus is sensitive to many common disinfectants such as detergents, 10 per cent household bleach, alcohol and other commercial disinfectants.
FOR BIRD CARE, THE GUIDELINES STATED
- It should be ensured that wild birds are not harmed during trapping and collection of serum samples.
- Preference should be given to the leg vein instead of the wing vein.
- Wing vein blood collection is reported to result in hemorrhage affecting normal flight, making them susceptible to predators.
- Awareness should be spread that any sighting of a dead bird by volunteers, bird watchers, etc.
- The death should be reported to the nearest forest / animal husbandry office.
- To better monitor the migratory birds, a state-level committee has to be formed which will come with an action plan.
- Surveillance should not be restricted to the Protected Areas alone, but to all such wetlands and habitats that provide staging grounds to the migrating birds.
WHAT IS BIRD FLU?
- Bird flu, also called avian influenza, is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals.
- Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.
- H5N1 was first discovered in humans in 1997 and has killed nearly 60 percent of those infected.
SOURCES : PIXABAY
- Currently, the virus isn’t known to spread via human-to-human contact. Still, some experts worry that H5N1 may pose a risk of becoming a pandemic threat to humans.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BIRD FLU?
You may have an H5N1 infection if you experience typical flu-like symptoms such as:
- Respiratory difficulties
- Fever (over 100.4°F or 38°C)
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
WHAT CAUSES BIRD FLU?
- Although there are several types of bird flu, H5N1 was the first avian influenza virus to infect humans.
- The first infection occurred in Hong Kong in 1997. The outbreak was linked to handling infected poultry.
- H5N1 occurs naturally in wild waterfowl, but it can spread easily to domestic poultry.
- Consuming properly cooked poultry or eggs from infected birds doesn’t transmit the bird flu, but eggs should never be served runny.
- Meat is considered safe if it has been cooked to an internal temperature of 165ºF (73.9ºC).
WHAT ARE BIRD FLU RISK FACTORS?
- H5N1 has the ability to survive for extended periods of time.
- Touching contaminated surfaces can spread the infection.
You may have a greater risk of contracting H5N1 if you are:
- A poultry farmer
- A traveler visiting affected areas
- Exposed to infected birds
- Someone who eats undercooked poultry or eggs
- A healthcare worker caring for infected patients
- A household member of an infected person
HOW IS BIRD FLU DIAGNOSED?
- The test is called influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set.
Your doctor may also perform the following tests to look for the presence of the virus that causes bird flu:
- Auscultation (a test that detects abnormal breath sounds)
- White blood cell differential
- Chest X-ray
WHAT’S THE TREATMENT FOR BIRD FLU?
- Different types of bird flu can cause different symptoms. As a result, treatments may vary.
- However, the medication must be taken within 48 hours after symptoms first appear.
- The virus that causes the human form of the flu can develop resistance to the two most common forms of antiviral medications, amantadine and rimantadine (Flumadine).
- These medications shouldn’t be used to treat the disease.
- The outlook for bird flu infection depends on the severity of infection and the type of influenza virus causing it. H5N1 has a high mortality rate, while other types don’t.
Some potential complications include:
- Sepsis (a possibly fatal inflammatory response to bacteria and other germs)
- Organ failure
- Acute respiratory distress
SOURCES: DownToEarth | Avian influenza [Bird Flu] | H5 N1 Virus | UPSC