Avian Flu Outbreak: Centre asks four States to take measures to contain

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 06, 2021

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has asked four States – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan – to take adequate measures to ensure avian flu (AI) reported in some parts of these States does not spread to poultry.

According to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, an Indian Council of Agricultural Research in Bhopal, (ICAR-NIHSAD), there are current 12 epicentres of bird flu in these States.

These epicentres are in Baran, Kota and Jhalawar in Rajasthan, Mandsaur, Indore and Malwa in Madhya Pradesh, Kangra in Himachal and four epicentres in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts in Kerala, an official statement said on Wednedsday.

No direct evidence for human infection

While it is found in crows in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, in migratory birds in Himachal and in poultry and duck in Kerala. The first major outbreak of bird flu reported in India was in 2006, but so far infection in humans was not in India. Besides, there is no direct evidence of bird flu virus spreading humans through consumption of poultry products, the department said.

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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.

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

Following post operation surveillance plan (POSP) after completion of AI outbreak control in 2020 and containment operation at different epicentres, the country declared free from AI 0n September 30 last year.

Advisory issued

In view of the past experience regarding the reports of the disease in winter season, periodic advisories have been issued to all states/UTs before commencement of winter for keeping necessary vigil, enhancing surveillance, keeping strategic reserves of supplies (such as PPE kits), preparedness to handle eventualities and communication materials for public awareness.

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Accordingly, an advisory has been issued each to the States of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on January 1, so as to avoid further spread of the infection. As per the information received from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan control measures are being taken as per the guidelines of National Action Plan of Avian Influenza, the statement said.

Another advisory is issued to Himachal on Tuesday (January 5). Similarly, Kerala said it has already initiated control and containment operations from Tuesday at epicentres and culling process is already on.

DAHD has also set up a control room in New Delhi to keep watch on the situation and to take stock on daily basis of preventive and control measures undertaken by State authorities.

Published on January 06, 2021

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