Unlike coronavirus, H5N1 avian flu rarely infects humans and is not known to be communicable.
After a deadly outbreak of the novel coronavirus, Chinese authorities have now confirmed a highly pathogenic strain of the H5N1 bird flu in Hunan province.
Almost 18,000 chickens have been culled in Shaoyang city in the southern province of Hunan as a result of the outbreak, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement. The avian flu has not been reported in humans so far.
Of the 7,850 chickens on the farm where the outbreak has occurred, 4,500 had died of the H5N1 avian flu.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), H5N1 can be transmitted to humans via contact with infected live or dead birds. The agency, however, says the virus does not infect humans easily, and spread from person to person appears to be unusual.
Hunan is about 400 km south of Hubei province that has the city of Wuhan, which is the epicentre of coronavirus.
The influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, can be treated in humans by available antiviral medicines.
WHO says it is still safe to consume hygienically-treated poultry and eggs as the virus is sensitive to heat. Normal cooking temperature (70 deg C) will kill the virus, it states.
Meanwhile, the novel coronavirus has spread to more number of countries. In China alone, more than 300 people have been killed so far. More and more foreign citizens have been evacuated from Wuhan and other major cities in China are being cut-off from international air travel.
Scientists from Thailand recently claimed they have discovered a potential cure for coronavirus.
In India, three confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in Kerala and all three patients have had a history of travel and stay in China.
Source - ThePrint