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Experts slam media for panic over bird flu

Expressing concern over the hype given to bird flu (avian influenza) in the country, GSVM Medical College principal Dr SK Katiyar said that even educated people had stopped eating chicken in the country, ?creating unnecessary panic which will adversely affect tourism?.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2006 00:50 IST

Expressing concern over the hype given to bird flu (avian influenza) in the country, GSVM Medical College principal Dr SK Katiyar said that even educated people had stopped eating chicken in the country, “creating unnecessary panic which will adversely affect tourism”.

“No human case of bird flu has been reported in the country till date and there is no need to panic,” he added.

Dr Katiyar was delivering the inaugural speech at a seminar organised on avian influenza by the Clinical Society.

“In 2004 also the issue of bird flu gripped the country but then also no human case of the disease was found,” stated Dr Katiyar.

He said that in 2003 due to bird flu in Vietnam and Thailand 75 per cent of the affected human beings had died.

Clinical Society president Dr Rakesh Chandra said the need of the hour was to spread awareness about bird flu and stressed that there was no need to panic.

Dr Chandra said: “If there are symptoms of bird flu then treatment must be started even on clinical grounds without waiting for laboratory confirmation.”

Addressing the gathering on the occasion, deputy CMO and bird flu nodal officer Dr AK Tripathi talked about the preparations being made by the health department to confront bird flu.

He also pointed out that if chicken was cooked at 70 degree centigrade continuously for 30 minutes then all viruses of bird flu would die and it would become safe for eating.

Professor in community medicine Dr SC Saxena talked about an action plan to combat bird flu in Kanpur city. “Poultry farm owners will not be allowed to sell migratory birds and those working in poultry will be educated about the disease by doctors of primary health centres,” stated Dr Saxena.

He added that regular blood samples of birds would be taken and measures to dispose of the faeces of the birds would also be undertaken by deep burial and incineration at Bhauti plant, Kanpur.

“Dead birds, rotten eggs and other waste material from poultry farms will be disposed of in the same manner,” said Dr Saxena.

He also pointed out that human transmission of bird flu was predictable and therefore manageable. Failure to take action could be a mistake of historic proportions, he stressed.

Professor SK Saxena of the medicine department said: “Avian influenza is a type of influenzal infection and its signs and symptoms are similar to other influenzal infections.”

Usually, there was abrupt onset of illness characterized by headache, fever, myelgia besides cough, sore throat and common cold, stated Dr Saxena.

Associate professor in the department of pathology, medical college, Dr Asha Agarwal talked about pathological tests of the virus (H5N1).

“H5N1 is resistant to Amantadine and every other known influenza vaccine. The only drug available at present that works against H5N1 appears to be Tamiflu,” stated Dr Agarwal.

But there was scarcity of Tamiflu and, unlike Amantadine, it was expensive, added Dr Agarwal.

First Published: Feb 26, 2006 00:50 IST