Patna- Bird flu or avian influenza scare is having a big impact on the poultry business in Bihar with chicken sales dipping by 50-75 per cent across the state.
Kalimudin Ansari, a chicken seller at Boring Road in Patna, said that though no confirmed case of bird flu has been reported from anywhere in the state, customers are not coming to their shops.
"Customers are apprehensive about bird flu due to news reports on digital platforms, TV channels, and newspapers. Only the known customers are coming to our shops to buy chicken," Ansari said.
Another chicken seller, Shahnawaj Alam, said: "Bird flu scare has created panic among the people. Hence, our sales have gone down by 50 to 60 percent."
Chicken sellers are feeling the heat in other districts of the state as well.
The scare of bird flu gripped Bihar after chickens and crows were found dead in Muzaffarpur and Bettiah, respectively, last week.
Rajan Sharma, a resident of Khagaul in Patna district, said: "Being a non-vegetarian, I am now preferring fish ever since bird flu cases were reported in some states. Apart from chicken, I am also avoiding mutton as both are sold together in the majority of the outlets."
"The hygiene factor is always a big issue in meat outlets in Patna. The flu could also transmit through feathers and other wastes which are generally scattered in the surroundings of roadside chicken shops," said Atul Thakur, a resident of the Nageshwar colony.
"As the majority of the outlets are operating without any license from the municipal corporation, they do not have the fear of getting penalized," Thakur added.
The state government has also alerted the administrations of all the 38 districts in Bihar to keep a tab on the developments.
"We are urging people to avoid eating half-cooked non-vegetarian food. Any meat cooked at a temperature of above 70-degree Celsius is safe as the H5N1 virus does not survive then," an official of the health department said, requesting anonymity.
"Besides, we also advised them to avoid coming in contact with chicken sellers, feathers etc. We have also asked the common people to avoid going to poultry forms to buy chickens. People should wash hands with soaps and wear gloves while buying chickens," he said.