New Delhi, After the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the country’s poultry industry, it is now reeling under the fresh threat of the bird flu infection. Due to the fear of bird flu, the sale of chicken and chicken products have been the worst-hit.
Especially in north India, the poultry industry has been badly affected by ban on the transportation of hens from one state to another. A delegation from the industry is scheduled to meet the central government on Sunday.
The cases of bird flu in poultry chickens have so far been found only in Haryana while most of them have been found in wild birds or migratory birds elsewhere and some cases have also been found in poultry ducks.
However, in the beginning of 2021, the fear of bird flu has increased so much that the demand of chickens and chicken products has decreased by more than 70%, the poultry traders said. Poultry Federation of India President, Ramesh Khatri, told that chicken sales had fallen by almost 70 to 80% over the last three to four days, while prices had fallen by 50% and egg prices had also come down by nearly 15 to 20%.
Khatri said the primary reason for the falling demand for chicken is that the movement of poultry from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir has been halted from one state to another.
He said that the two farms in which the bird flu has been confirmed in Haryana are both layer farms and not broiler ones. In the layer farms, poultry farming is done for eggs, while in the broiler farms, poultry farming is done for chicken meat.
New Delhi, Contrary to what some people think that the bird flu virus, also known as Avian influenza, is spread to humans via consumption of cooked poultry products, health experts on Sunday stressed that it usually does not infect people as the virus is heat-labile (degraded and killed when subjected to heat).
Avian influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
According to the World Health organisation (WHO), cooking of poultry (e.g. chicken, ducks and geese) at or above 70 degree Celsius so that absolutely no meat remains raw and red, is a safe measure to kill the virus in areas with outbreaks in poultry.
Richa Sareen, consultant (pulmonology) at Fortis Vasant Kunj in New Delhi, said the virus is heat-labile and it gets killed with cooking temperatures.
“At this time, people should eat fully cooked chicken and eggs and not raw or partially cooked ones. One should avoid going to open markets that sell poultry as they are the focal point of the spread,” Sareen told IANS.
“People who handle poultry should take special precautions. They should wear PPE, gloves and masks while handling birds and should practice frequent hand washing,” she added.