Steps to contain chances of human transmission

The Health Department is taking precautionary measures to ensure that there would be no potential threat of human transmission of bird flu, Additional Director of Health Services A.S. Pradeepkumar said.

He said the Haemoglutinin factor of the influenza virus had been confirmed as H5, while the Neuraminidase (N) factor was yet to be confirmed by the Bhopal lab, which would determine the potential of the virus’s transmission.

As of now, while bird flu has been confirmed, it is not yet confirmed whether the virus could be transmitted to humans. However, the Health Department has decided to supply anti-virals — Oseltamivir, which is effective against all influenza viruses — to the culling teams being engaged by the Animal Husbandry Department in Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts.

There are ample stocks of Oseltamivir in the State at present. More stocks are being procured on an emergency basis. The veterinarians’ teams who will conduct post-mortem of the bird carcasses could be at risk and hence the antivirals would be given to them also.

The Health Department is also actively monitoring human cases of fever in the bird flu-affected regions and, if required, they would also be given Oseltamivir as a precaution, Dr. Pradeepkumar said.

Bird flu of the strain H5N1 had been reported in Kerala in 2006.

Though H5N1 could be a cause for worry, till date no case of human transmission of H5N1 flu had been reported anywhere in India, even when several large-scale outbreaks of the strain had been reported in Maharashtra and West Bengal earlier.

However, even though the strain H5N1 is a Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1), the virus does not have the epidemic potential of influenza virus like H1N1. Though H5N1 has the potential to spread from birds to humans, such bird-human transmission has been reported infrequently.

It would be very rare for the virus to spread from human to human and hence there is no need for panic, experts say.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 3:50:44 AM |

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