For the past several days the Delhi government has insisted that the avian H5N8 virus, which very recently arrived in India, poses no threat to human health.
Our own CDC's stance is that while the risks are probably low, they are not zero. They cautiously advise:
H5 Viruses in the United States
At this time, no human infections with these viruses have been detected, however similar viruses have infected people in other countries and caused serious illness and death in some cases. Human infections with other avian influenza viruses have occurred after close and prolonged contact with infected birds or the excretions/secretions of infected birds (e.g., droppings, oral fluids). While the health risk posed to the general public by domestic HPAI outbreaks is low, it is possible that human infections with these viruses could occur.
The H5N8 virus - like all flu viruses - is continually evolving, and its behavior in the past is no guarantee of how it will behave in the future. Additionally, many of those exposed in the past (cullers, poultry workers, etc.) wore protective gear, and were offered prophylactic antivirals.
Today the Delhi government - while still insisting the virus poses little danger - has issued a health and safety advisory to the public on the handling of, and consumption of, poultry and other birds.
While I've not been able to locate the official statement, the following report from the Indian Express provides a summary, along with some additional information on some of the steps (including disinfecting around ponds and lakes) the government is taking to reduce the risks.
Follow the link to read it in its entirety.
Updated: October 24, 2016 9:28 pm
Follow these measures to be safe in this season to avoid bird flu or avian influenza.
Here are guidelines and advisory, a combination of those issued by the Delhi government and Dr Raman Abhi, AD, Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute.
People can suffer from mild flu-like symptoms to a severe respiratory disease in the form of pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), MODS (sudden and severe onset of cough, cold, high fever, shortness of breath).
If situation aggravates, this could even lead to multi-organ failure, rhadomyolysis and acute kidney injury.
Please remember that the infection has a high mortality rate.
The treatment course is very similar to that of Swine Flu. One must avoid self-medication, home remedies and immediately consult a doctor.
Nose and mouth swab for rPCR.
Avoid direct contact with bird secretions
- Clean all feeders, waterers, cages used for birds with detergents. Dispose properly all the slaughtered wastes.
- Please don’t touch dead birds with naked hands and inform the Control Room (011-23890318) for further action.
- Wash hands frequently at the time of dealing with raw poultry products. Take due care of personal hygiene. Maintain cleanliness in your surroundings.
- Always use a mask and gloves at the time of dealing with raw chicken/chicken products.
- Eat only completely cooked meat and meat products (100 degrees Celsius).
- In case there is any pond or stagnant water body in your neighbourhood/area, and it is not being disinfected with lime, etc., then inform the Control Room.
As it is said, prevention is better than cure, this simple to-do list would help you to take all the measures to stay healthy and fit.
- Do not consume uncooked chicken/eggs.
- Do not consume half-cooked chicken/bird or half boiled or half fried eggs.
- Prevent exposure from sick-looking (sluggish) chicken.
- While storing meat, even in the fridge, do not keep raw meat near the cooked meat.