Bird flu unlikely to spread in India: Experts

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Bird flu has resurfaced in India with cases being reported from Maharashtra’s Thane and Palghar regions. Thousands of birds have been culled in Palghar alone.

However, an expert said that the disease is unlikely to spread majorly in the country.

Talking to IANS, Adil Amin from the Department of Medicine, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said that this infection rarely follows human-to-human transmission.

People can contract the bird flu virus from bird droppings or close contact with infected birds only, he said.

Bird flu or avian influenza is a highly-contagious viral disease that affects both domesticated and wild birds. The infection is caused by the Type A virus in the intestines and respiratory tracts of birds, Amin said.

He said that people can contract the infection from close contact with birds, especially those working in poltry farms.

“In large-scale poultry farms, many people are involved in daily work. Birds are dispatched from there to the small-scale poultry farms, which becomes the main reason of transmission. The infection can be transmitted in close clusters, but rarely,” Amin said.

It is also possible to contract the virus while bathing or swimming in water contaminated with infected birds, he added.

Some common mild symptoms include cough, fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, and shortness of breath, which may continue for three to 12 days.

However, pneumonia or kidney dysfunction can also be seen in severe cases, he added.

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