Bird Flu scare in South Asia

Government of Pakistan has announced to take precautionary measures against Bird Flu. Import of Chicken from India has been banned. Food and Agriculture Ministries have been put on high alert while Poultry Farms across Pakistan are being monitored. Inter provincial movement of poultry products have also been restricted. The reason for this panic is outbreak of Virus in Neighbouring India.

India quarantined eight people in hospital on Monday and slaughtered some 96,000 chickens as it tried to contain the country’s first outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Teams of inexperienced agricultural workers struggled to kill the chickens near the small town of Navapur in western Maharashtra, where the outbreak occurred, while the authorities isolated eight people with mild fever. The Viral infection has taken some 160 human lives, since 2004, with about 85 fatalities, mostly in Asia, according to the World Health Organization

Bird flu is spreading around the world. The virus has turned up in birds in Asia and Europe, most recently in India. So far, bird flu has only been passed from birds either to other birds or, in isolated cases, to humans. However, if the flu mutates into a strain that can pass from human to human, people will have no immunity and the flu will probably pass rapidly from person to person, creating a pandemic..

In Asia, many people live with ducks and chickens in their homes and in their yards. Health and veterinary officials worldwide recently announced that a key way to stop the spread of the disease is to improve farming practices, segregating poultry from humans, and culling birds that have been infected with the deadly virus.

A similar pandemic that occurred in 1918-1919 made a billion people fell ill, and nearly 100 million died worldwide. Translating to today’s figures, they project that some 30-60 percent of the world’s population could be infected by the virus, and over 300 million people worldwide could die. In the meantime, good hygiene remains the best prevention: keep hands well-washed, and avoid contact with people who have been infected with the virus.

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