Bhubaneswar: While there is no scientific evidence to show that coronavirus spreads through eating chicken, mutton and seafood, chicken meat sales have dropped drastically in Bhubaneswar amid rumours that coronavirus could be spread by chicken meat.
Clarifications by Health officials and the poultry industry has failed to stem the panic.
Director of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Dr. C B K Mohanty has stated that there is no scientific evidence of coronavirus spreading through chicken.
“That coronavirus spreads through chicken, as of now there is no such evidence. In today’s context it is totally baseless,” opined Dr. Mohanty.
He said that earlier there was some description with respect to bird flu, but in the last one year there have been reports of more than 30 bird flu outbreaks in the world in none of these a human case has been reported.
“Whatever cases have been reported that have been restricted to birds,” he pointed out.
A senior practitioner of Medicine, Dr Indramani Jena echoed similar views that spreading of coronavirus had nothing to do with the eating of chicken meat.
“That a person will be affected with coronavirus on consuming chicken meat is not possible since it is not yet known to science that one gets coronavirus infection through food. There is tissue receptor specificity for coronavirus. It passes on to humans through the respiratory tract. The transmission route is through fomite or droplets. It cannot travel in the air for a long distance like that of smallpox. But it can affect people in close contact within one metre. There is no evidence of the virus affecting a human after travelling through the GI tract,” he explained.
“Every year bird flu is reported, it stays for a fortnight or so though it doesn’t affect humans sales get affected but the recent outbreak of Coronavirus has left the people terrified. Farm owners are offering chicken for almost free in some places. While a kilogram of poultry feed costs Rs 35, people are offering a live bird for Rs 10-20. Never ever had rate for a kilogram of chicken meat been below Rs 150 now we are selling it for Rs 70-80. I used to sell 400-500 birds in my counter now it is difficult to sell 30 birds,” said a chicken meat seller in Bhubaneswar.
“People are not eating chicken meat due to the rumour. It’s very difficult to sell 60-70 birds. Earlier, we used to sell 40-50 kg of chicken meat in a day. In a month we used to earn around Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000 a month now it is difficult to make even Rs 5,000 a month,” said another seller of chicken meat.
“Chicken is food; if you don’t eat you will fall sick. Every day I eat chicken meat-seven days a week. It’s the scare for which people are not taking chicken meat. But I don’t think it has anything to do with coronavirus,” said a consumer of chicken meat.