Preserve vigil on any uncommon mortality amongst birds, states instructed

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 6

The Centre has asked states to keep a vigil and report immediately any unusual mortality amongst birds and also take necessary measures. 

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has also set up a control room to keep a watch on the situation on daily basis of preventive and control measures being undertaken by State authorities, according to an official statement.

After confirmation of positive samples from ICAR-NIHSAD, Avian Influenza has been reported from 12 epicentres which include Rajasthan (crow) – Baran, Kota, Jhalawar; Madhya Pradesh (crow) – Mandsaur, Indore, Malwa; Himachal Pradesh (migratory birds) – Kangra; and Kerala (poultry-duck) –  Kottayam, Allapuzha (4 epicentres).

An advisory was issued to Rajasthan and MP on January 1 to avoid further spread of the infection. As per received from the two States, control measures are being taken as per the guidelines of the National Action Plan of Avian Influenza. 

An advisory was also issued on January 5 to Himachal, advising it to take measures to avoid further spread of disease to poultry. Kerala has already initiated control and containment operations at epicentres and culling process is in operation, it said.

Measures suggested to the affected States to contain the disease and prevent further spread as per the Action Plan on Avian Influenza include strengthening the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfection of affected areas, proper disposal of dead birds/carcasses, timely collection and submission of samples for confirmation and further surveillance, intensification of surveillance plan as well as the general guidelines for prevention of disease spread from affected birds to poultry and human. Coordination with forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds has also been suggested. 

Avian Influenza viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries with four known major outbreaks recorded in the last century. India notified the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006.  

Infection in humans is not yet reported in India though the disease is zoonotic. There is no direct evidence that AI viruses can be transmitted to humans via the consumption of contaminated poultry products. Implementing management practices that incorporate bio security principles, personal hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection protocols, as well as cooking and processing standards, are effective means of controlling the spread of the AI viruses, as per officials.

In India, the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into India during winter months i.e. from September – October to February – March. The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites) cannot be ruled out, as per the statement.

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