Safe and proper cooking of poultry meat and other hygienic measures alone can prevent the outbreak of avian flu, according to a pamphlet issued by the Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry, Vellore to poultry farmers at an awareness camp on avian flu conducted by the Department of Animal Husbandry at the Collectorate here on Monday.

The Joint Director said in the pamphlet that at present there is no treatment for the avian flu caused by a highly virulent virus strain called H5N1. There is no vaccine available as on date to protect the fowls or humans from the disease. Though, normally the virus does not attack humans, it does attack those who were handling infected birds and those employed in poultry farms. The virus is destroyed only through proper cooking of poultry meat.

Fever, wound in the throat, cough, pneumonia, wound in the eyes and muscular pain are the symptoms of the disease in humans, while breathing difficulty occurs in an advanced stage of the disease.

According to the pamphlet, the poultry farmers would have to adopt the following measures to prevent an outbreak: preventing the entry of forest birds and other fowls from outside into their farms; all the fowls in the farm should be of the same age; new chicks should be purchased only after disposing of the fowls in the farm and cleaning the same; presence of humans should be minimal; poultry workers should not go from one shed to the other; visitors should not be allowed into the farms; vehicles should be allowed into the farm only after de-toxification of the tyres; workers should wear face masks, hand gloves and rubber socks; . Poultry materials such as feed plates, water tubs, taps, cages and other equipments should be sterilised; equipment should be not brought from other farms; the faecal waste of fowls, carcasses of fowls and rotten eggs should be safely buried.

The Joint Director mentioned that the entry of poultry and poultry materials from other states is being monitored through rapid action teams of the Department of Animal Husbandry and through check posts.

P. Sankar, Collector of Vellore presided over the camp. G. Kamalanathan, Regional Joint Director of Animal Husbandry gave the keynote address.