Allaying fears, Alappuzha Animal Husbandry Officer Santhosh said this virus won’t spread to human beings. The virus is H5N8.

New Delhi: Even as the Central government is all set to distribute Covid vaccines in the next couple of weeks, another virus—avian influenza—has been reported in four states. Allaying the fears, Alappuzha Animal Husbandry Officer Santhosh said this virus won’t spread to human beings. The virus is H5N8 and it is not a transmissible virus. Bird deaths have been reported at least five states—Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Karnataka—amid a central team surveyed avian flu-affected areas in Kerala’s Alappuzha and Kottayam. Kerala was the first to confirm the outbreak of H5N8 after bird samples tested positive. Santhosh told The Sunday Guardian, “Unlike 2014, when the H5N1 virus was highly virulent, this H5N8 virus is not so contagious. In Alappuzha, there are over 1 lakh birds. The H5N8 virus is not highly virulent and it does not transmit to human beings.” Animal Husbandry Director KM Dileep told The Sunday Guardian, “We have culled over 45,000 birds and we will cull more if needed. To a certain level, we have contained the spread.”
According to WHO, H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza, whereas H5N8 is a subtype of the influenza A virus. The H5N8 presents only a low risk to humans, it is highly lethal to wild birds and poultry. Santhosh further said that Alappuzha being a backwater region, several people are engaged in poultry business and this is their main source of income. “After the outbreak, the health department has started keeping a watch on the residents’ health status and the officials are continuously monitoring them.” Ducks are commonly found in Alappuzha. He further said, “We have disinfected and sanitized the region.”