11-year-old boy from Gurgaon dies of bird flu: Health, animal husbandry depts on alert

After an 11-year-old boy from Gurgaon died of H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu at AIIMS, Delhi, on Tuesday, the Gurgaon health and animal husbandry departments have started to survey the area around the child’s home at Chakkarpur village and poultry farms in the district.

According to officials, a survey was started within a 10-km radius of Chakkarpur village after officials received information on the confirmed case.

“A total of 17 teams are working to survey the village as well as an area of 10 km around it. These teams, constituted by the health department, are going from house to house to get information regarding any symptoms of bird flu that they may have experienced,” said Dr Punita Gehlawat, deputy director, animal husbandry department.

“In addition, teams from the animal husbandry department are also continuously checking poultry farms in the district. There are a total of 28 teams formed specifically for this purpose,” she said.

Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg appealed to residents of the district to immediately alert the animal husbandry department about any “sick or dead birds”.

“There is no danger in eating well-cooked chicken or egg as, according to experts, the virus gets destroyed at a temperature of 70 degrees Celsius. People should mainly avoid coming in contact with chickens and sick birds. Avoid eating non-veg in the bird flu affected area, and consult a doctor immediately if you notice symptoms,” he said.

This was the first recorded death due to the infection in India this year.

Garg has also issued an advisory for poultry farmers and those associated with the poultry business, stating they should not come in direct contact with chickens and should use gloves or other protective equipment. “Do not touch the feathers, mucus, and burrows of birds. In case of contact for any reason, immediately wash hands thoroughly with soap and keep the chickens in the shed. Kill infected birds and dispose of them safely,” states the advisory.

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