New Delhi: Fears of another scourge loom with the rise of bird flu in states including Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
These states saw close to 25,000 deaths of mostly ducks, crows and migratory birds.
As people began quailing at Avian Influenza, experts allays public nerves, suggesting precautions.
Fear stems from the worst of covid 19 that left the nation reeling most of the past year.
Another virus could mean nightmares that played out in many forms including shutdowns and nervy precautions.
Health experts said the risk of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus is very rare unless one works in proximity with the infected species of birds.
"People who work closely with poultry are at high risk of getting the infection. Otherwise, human to human transmission of the H5N1 virus is very rare. Hence there is no need to panic," Dr. Harshal R. Salve, Associate Professor at Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) told IANS.
"The bird flu is detected in sick birds and has the possibility to spread among humans only with those handling poultry or infected birds," said Dr. Rajeev Gupta, Director- Internal Medicine, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh (Delhi).
Dr. Upali Nanda, Head, Preventive Health & Consultant-Medicine, Medeor Hospital Qutab Institutional Area (Delhi), also said that human-to-human transmission of the Avian Influenza is very unusual.
People began taking off eggs and chicken meat from their diet, fearing H5N1virus infection from consuming them.
No connection is found between the spread of Avian Influenza and consumption of eggs.
Doctors, however, are in favour of ditching undercooked poultry products and meat for a while.
"There is no evidence available that suggests the spread of bird flu through eating meat or eggs. Nonetheless, eating raw meat and eggs should be avoided in the affected region till the incidents come down," advised Dr. Salve.
She wanted people not let their guards down, and instead follow the hygienic practices for covid 19, to keep H5N1 virus away.
Dr. Nanda advised people against eating semi-cooked meat and eggs. "People can also take extra precaution besides properly cooking the meat and poultry," she added.
"Wash your hands with warm water and soap, especially before and after handling the raw poultry and eggs. Use different utensils for cooking raw meat and make sure meat is cooked properly until steaming hot. Avoid direct contact with live and poultry birds," Dr Nanda advised.
She also suggested avoiding visiting live animal markets or poultry farms for now. "If need be, wear a mask and gloves all the time. Also, do not go near or touch bird droppings or sick and dead birds," Dr. Nanda added.
The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, where samples of animals sent across India for detection of diseases, told IANS that it has not found the presence of the H5N1 virus in the poultry birds yet.
The president of Ghazipur Mandi, biggest poultry market in the national capital, also informed IANS that no incidence of the bird flu among chicken meat has been reported in the market as yet.
IANS report with edits