Avian/Bird Flu Outbreak Triggers Concerns in Hyderabad

Picture of Chicken Infected with Avian Bird FluPoultry Chicken were found effected with the Avian/Bird Flu in Hyderabad, and the usual warnings not to eat chicken and eggs went on a rise. Detailed below are the incident whereabouts, the aftermath, and the actual concerns.

How It Started

On 11 April 2015, after witnessing sudden, unusual deaths of chicken in Srinivasa Reddy Poultry Farm in Thorrur village of Hayathnagar, Ranga Reddy district of Hyderabad, Telangana, the owner sent some chicken samples to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases laboratory in Bhopal for testing. On 13th of April, it was revealed that 11 samples from the farm tested positive for the H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus, generally called as Bird Flu.

Red Alert

After the initial break out of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu virus in poultry farm, the Telangana government sounded a red alert and declared a 1-km radius area around the farm as an infection zone, and the areas falling in a 10-km radius beyond that as surveillance zones. The infection zone has 5 poultry farms that house 1.45 lakh chickens, and the surveillance zone covers 18 villages. The staff at the farm was given Tamiflu doses and the Telangana government went on to cull around 1.6 lakh chicken birds in the Ranga Reddy district. They also destroyed around 2,30,928 eggs and 200 metric tons of feed in the in the five poultry farms. These concerns about Bird flu hit the Hyderabad poultry.

Picture of Chicken Infected with Avian Bird Flu

The Avian/Bird Flu

Avian influenza (AI), usually known as bird flu, is an infectious viral disease affecting birds and can cause serious infections in humans. In 2015 alone, WHO (World Health Organization) reported 125 cases of H5N1 infection causing 33 deaths worldwide. Till date, large number of bird flu infections in humans occurred during the home slaughtering and subsequent handling of diseased or dead birds before cooking.


The symptoms of bird flu are similar to swine flu – Fever, Headache, Sore throat, Cough, Muscle aches and Shortness of breath. In some cases, nausea, a mild eye infection (conjunctivitis), vomiting or diarrhea can also be seen.

Picture of Chicken Poultry Farm Amidst Avian Bird Flu Outbreak in Telangana

Need to Panic?

As samples from only one farm had tested positive for H5N1, animal husbandry additional director Y Thirupathiah said there was no need to panic, and also mentioned that officials are collecting samples from other farms in the neighboring areas. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)/WHO, thorough cooking of poultry like chicken, geese, turkeys, ducks and guinea-fowl at or above 70°Celsius (so that no meat remains raw and red) is a safe measure to kill the H5N1 virus in areas with outbreaks in poultry. No birds from flocks with disease, however, should enter the food chain. After handling frozen or thawed raw poultry or eggs, it is important to keep clean and wash your hands thoroughly with soap; also disinfect all surfaces.

Picture Showing Many Killed Chicken Infected with Avian Bird Flu


The avian influenza virus can also be found inside and on the surface of eggs laid by the infected chicken/birds. So FAO/WHO advises people that eggs from poultry areas with outbreaks should not be consumed raw or partially cooked.

The district and state health authorities conducted an intensive surveillance within the 10 km radius of Thorrur village for four days and did not find any person with symptoms of avian flu so far.


No bird flu risk for consumers from properly cooked poultry and eggs
Bird flu (avian influenza)

Prashanth Damarla

I write.

One thought on “Avian/Bird Flu Outbreak Triggers Concerns in Hyderabad

  • February 21, 2016 at 2:49 PM

    Although they remain fadmunentally the same, the flu virus is an RNA virus. This means it is very unstable and changing all the time. In the replication process it makes lots of mistakes.If the misprint’ changes the surface coat enough it can be unrecognizable to the immune system. This is called antigenic drift. and explains why Influenza comes around again and again. Flu is almost never the same and so the antibodies built up from past infections one year can fail to identify the new season’s flu (though as long as the change isn’t too drastic, we should have partial immunity to it and this explains why the winter flu’ is a relatively mild disease in most people.However, flu viruses have another trick up their sleeve. Every now and then , different flu viruses colonise the same cell. When this happens, their RNA can swap giant sections like people playing happy families’. So the virus swaps traits. If this reshuffling involves the genes that make the virus’ coat this can have DRAMATIC consequences. This is called antigenic SHIFT. A virus that had the kind of coat suitable only for entering bird cells might in this way suddenly acquire the genes for a coat to unlock human cells. It has, in effect, jumped the species barrier in a single leap. If so, a new pandemic is on the cards.In birds, until recently, the flu virus was fairly harmless. However, in pigs and humans the flu virus is not so harmless. The flu in pigs and humans is probably a relatively new disease (no more than 500 years old) arising as a result of the way humans, pigs, and birds became crowded together in farms and villages. When all were living far apart, an antigenic shift might have produced countless varieities of flu similar to the human flu, but they would have died out without a suitable host with close quarters, an antigenic shift might readily find a host and survive to have offspring.Because they are completely foreign to the human immune system, these viruses are highly pathogenic (they can kill their host)It used to be thought that bird flu viruses acquired the ability to infect humans through pigs. Pig’s lungs, unusually, can be infected by both human and bird flu viruses. It is thought that the pandemics of the 20th century began when genes were swapped in pig cells. Hence, the term swine flu’.This theory is being questioned ans some researchers have suggestes that the 1918 Pandemic actually started on chicken farms in Kansas.You should look into the enzymes neuraminidase and the protein hemagglutinin which make up the H?N?. Each have a different role to play in the ability to infect certain cells (human or otherwise).Right now, the H5N1 is a pandemic among birds and related animals. It is still primarily a bird disease as it hasn’t mutated enough to be able to infect the human respiratory tract easily. There have been about 300 cases of bird to human transmission and very few cases of apparently subsequent human to human transmission. All of these cases required extremely close contact with birds or extremely close and prolonged contact with someone who picked it up from a bird. (airborne, like the flu).H5N1 MAY be the strain that makes the jump to easy transmission or it may be another of the Influenza A strains. We don’t know. Though, H5N1, seems the most likely at the moment.Hope this helpsEDIT: I forgot to ACTUALLY answer your question:The mechanism of transmission from birds to humans would be through their feces or respiratory secretions (at the moment). If it were to become a pandemic in humans it would most likely be spread by aerosol (through coughs and sneezes, through mutual touching of surfaces, and the exchange of bodily fluids)

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