No Danger of Bird Flu or Avian Influenza Outbreak in Bengal: State Health Secretary

Avian Influenza

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued an alert regarding India’s second reported case of avian influenza A, subtype H9N2. Despite this, there is no threat of an avian influenza outbreak in Bengal, and there are no restrictions on the consumption of eggs, chickens, and other poultry products, according to the state’s health secretary.

Narayan Swaroop Nigam, the state health secretary, stated that two subtypes of avian influenza (H9N2 and H5N1) were recently detected in swab samples from two patients. “There have been a couple of cases where some history of the avian influenza virus has been detected. We have conducted active surveillance among people who had contact with these patients, as well as among nearby poultry and other birds. There is no fresh evidence of human-to-human or bird-to-human transmission,” Nigam said at Swasthya Bhavan.

Nigam reassured that there is no threat of avian influenza in the state and no advisory against consuming poultry products. “Chickens and eggs can be consumed as they were consumed yesterday,” he added.

On Thursday, a state health department team went to Kaliachak in Malda for surveillance after a four-year-old boy was diagnosed with the avian influenza A (H9N2) virus a few months ago. Nigam reported that the team found no adverse incidents. “The senior joint director of health services is in Malda. I have spoken to him. There is no case of human-to-human transmission there,” he said.

An official from the animal resources development department explained that the decision not to restrict poultry consumption was to prevent unnecessary fear that could harm the livelihoods of those in the poultry industry. “If people stop consuming these products due to unfounded fears, it could lead to another crisis. So, we have repeatedly clarified in the press conference that there is no advisory against the consumption of poultry products,” the official said.

On Tuesday, the WHO issued an alert about India’s second reported case of avian influenza A, subtype H9N2. When asked if the WHO had issued any advisory, Nigam responded, “Except for the issued statement, WHO has not provided any further advisories. I spoke to the WHO yesterday.”

The news conference on Thursday was also addressed by Vivek Kumar, the additional chief secretary (additional charge) of the animal resources development department.

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