COVID-19 pandemic

Covid-19 not bird flu, say GADVASU experts

Covid-19 not bird flu, say GADVASU experts

Up to 50 per cent reduction in the demand for poultry products has severely affected the poultry industry. Tribune photo

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 24

Up to 50 per cent reduction in the demand for poultry products has severely affected the health of poultry industry and the prices of poultry meat and eggs have fallen flat.

“It is very misfortunate that the poultry sector in Punjab is in deep crisis owing to rumours and false information being circulated on social media about the association of Covid-19 with chicken meat and eggs. There is no association of consumption of properly cooked poultry products with the chances of acquiring symptoms of Covid-19. People need to understand that Covid-19 is not a bird flu and is not transmitted by poultry,” said AS Nanda, Vice Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU).

Route of transmission of Covid-19

As per the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the predominant route of current transmission of Covid-19 appears to be from human to human. To date, there is not enough scientific evidence to identify the source or to explain the route of transmission from an animal source to humans. The genetic sequence data reveals that Covid-19 virus is a close relative of other coronavirus found circulating in Rhinolophus bat (Horseshoe Bat) populations. There is no evidence that companion animals, including pets, can spread Covid-19.

Are domestic animals associated with Covid-19 infections in people?

AS Nanda, Vice Chancellor, GADVASU, informed that as of now there is no evidence for the food-borne transmission of coronavirus. Unfortunately, there is prevailing panic and rumours among public that Covid-19 can be transmitted via consumption of poultry meat and eggs. But scientists from GADVAU have reassured the general public that no such scientific evidence is available to advocate this. The national and international health agencies, particularly the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that cooked meat and eggs are alright for consumption and good hygienic practices are to be followed while cooking. However, this advisory is also relevant to vegetarian foods. Animal protein from livestock and poultry reared in Punjab is safe and nutritious and it is recommended to continue follow your food habits. Therefore, not buying poultry meat and eggs, particularly produced in the country, is not a wise idea.

Precautions for farmers, people dealing with animals & products

In accordance with the advice offered by the WHO, scientists from School of Public Health and Zoonoses, GADVASU have released a list of general precautions for farmers, consumers or those handling animals and their products.

  • When visiting live animal markets and animal-product markets, general hygiene measures should be adopted — regular hand washing with soap and water after touching animals and animal products, avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products
  • Any contact with other animals possibly living in the market —stray cats and dogs, rodents, birds and bats — should be strictly avoided
  • Attention should also be taken to avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the soil or structures of shops and market facilities.
  • If you are not a victim of Covid-19, you can interact with your pet as you normally do. You should, however, continue to practice good hygiene during those interactions
  • Regular washing of hands with soap or alcohol-based sanitisers is the most important measure
  • Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing.

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