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Avian influenza scare: Assam bans import of chickens from outside states; how safe is it to eat chicken now?

First Published: 10th March, 2023 11:41 IST

What is Avian influenza or bird flu? Is it safe to eat chicken and eggs while the bird flu is present? read to know more

By Lipika Roy

The Assam government has temporarily banned the import of poultry from other states as a precaution amid rising concern over outbreak of bird flu in or avian influenza in Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand which killed around 4000 chickens and ducks till date.

The state government has issued this directive in order to prevent chicken-transporting vehicles from entering the state through Shrirampur Gate in Gossaigaon in the Kokrajhar district.

A bird flu outbreak was confirmed in Ranchi, Jharkhand, on Friday, just one week after the disease in Bokaro district caused the killing of 4,000 chickens and ducks.

What is Avian influenza or bird flu?

Avian influenza or bird flu refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses can infect domestic poultry as well as other bird and mammal species. They are naturally spread among wild aquatic birds around the world. Bird flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with bird flu viruses have occurred. The links below offer more information about bird flu. However, there have been rare cases of human infections with avian flu viruses.

What are the symptoms of Avian influenza among humans?

  1. Severe upper back pain
  2. Fever
  3. Cough
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Cold and blood in the sputum

Is it safe to eat chicken and eggs while the bird flu is present?

Representational image

Well-cooked poultry and birds are safe to eat, according to WHO guidelines. As the virus is heat-sensitive, boiling it sufficiently will kill it. Usually, it has been observed that the virus will be killed during cooking if all of the meal reaches 70 degrees Celsius. 

Hence, ensure that your chicken and eggs are cooked properly before consuming them. Moreover, be sure to purchase your chicken and eggs from a reputable vendor or store. These are some recommendations for preventing the spread of the avian flu.

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