What is bird flu?
Bird flu is an illness caused by avian influenza virus (H5N1 virus) which causes severe respiratory diseases in birds. People who have close contact with infected birds can get sick but it is difficult for this virus to transmit from one person to other person.
While the world is already amid the world wide spread corona virus, the avian bird influenza has also hit the market leading to drop of sale of eggs and meat. In India, the flu have so far been confirmed in Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh.
Symptoms of bird flu in humans:
- Respiratory problems, including pneumonia
- Sore throat
- Eye infections
- Abdominal pain
- Other mild flu-like symptoms
Is it safe to consume chicken and eggs at this time?
YES, it is safe to consume poultry meat and eggs.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is no epidemiological data which suggests that the disease can be transmitted to humans through cooked food. WHO mentions that it is safe to consume cooked poultry meat and eggs cooked over 70˚C because the virus is heat-sensitive. In India, both meat and eggs are eaten well cooked and being exposed to over 100˚C making them safe for human consumption.
Instructions for handling and cooking poultry meat and eggs
- Avoid contact and prevent exposure from sick-looking poultry. Avoid direct contact with bird secretions and droppings
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling raw poultry or eggs
- Clean chopping boards and other utensils to prevent cross-contamination.
- Cook eggs until whites and yolks are firm; and ensure that poultry is cooked to a temperature of at least 70˚C.
- Avoid cooking poultry and eggs in the microwave. Use only stove-top methods to ensure that the food is cooked to at least 70˚C.
- Do not consume half-cooked chicken or half-boiled and half-fried eggs
- Maintain proper hygiene