​Bird Flu: What Happens if You Eat a Bird Infected with Avian Influenza?
​Bird Flu: What Happens if You Eat a Bird Infected with Avian Influenza?

In a concerning incident, a four-year-old child from West Bengal contracted bird flu caused by the H9N2 virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed this case, highlighting the risks associated with exposure to infected birds. The child’s symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, were linked to contact with chickens kept at home.

What is Bird Flu?

Bird flu, or avian influenza, is a viral infection that primarily affects birds. However, certain strains of the virus can also infect humans and other animals. The H9N2 virus, similar to other types of bird flu viruses, spreads through direct contact with infected birds or their droppings, as well as through contaminated surfaces or objects.

Can You Get Infected by Eating Bird Meat?

The risk of contracting bird flu from eating properly cooked poultry or eggs is considered low. Cooking poultry to a temperature of at least 165°F (74°C) kills the virus, making the meat safe to eat. However, handling raw poultry or eggs, especially from infected birds, without proper hygiene precautions can lead to infection.

Potential Risks of Eating Infected Birds

Transmission of Infection: If a bird is infected with a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, handling or consuming its meat without proper cooking can lead to infection. The virus can survive for some time on raw meat or eggs.

Symptoms and Complications: In humans, symptoms of bird flu can range from mild to severe and include fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches. In some cases, severe complications such as pneumonia or respiratory failure can occur, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems.

Preventive Measures: To prevent infection, it’s important to:

Cook poultry and eggs thoroughly to kill the virus.
Wash hands with soap and water after handling raw poultry.
Avoid contact with sick or dead birds.
Practice good hygiene when visiting live bird markets or farms.
What Happens to the Child in West Bengal?

The four-year-old child in West Bengal experienced abdominal discomfort, which led to testing and diagnosis of bird flu. Early detection and medical care are crucial in managing bird flu cases. Health authorities are monitoring the situation closely to prevent further spread.

While the risk of contracting bird flu from eating properly cooked poultry is low, handling or consuming raw or undercooked poultry from infected birds can pose health risks. Practicing proper hygiene and food safety measures are essential in preventing infection.

By raising awareness and understanding the risks associated with bird flu, we can take steps to protect ourselves and our families from this viral infection.

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