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A team of health experts, from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, led by Dr Ruchi Jain visit a bird flu-affected area at Karuvatta in Alappuzha district. (PTI)
A team of health experts, from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, led by Dr Ruchi Jain visit a bird flu-affected area at Karuvatta in Alappuzha district. (PTI)

Bird flu in India: 5 states report confirmed cases as avian influenza scare spreads

  • The Centre has asked local authorities to boost surveillance around water bodies, live bird markets, zoos and poultry farms
  • Delhi's Husbandry department has been put on a high alert due to the increasing number of bird flu cases in the neighbouring states

Bird flu or Avian influenza outbreak has spread to four states in the country, which have reported confirmed cases of the disease, with some districts of Kerala culling birds to stop the spread of the virus.

These states are -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Haryana.

Few other states, including Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, also witnessed unusual deaths of poultry, crows and migratory birds, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying said in an official statement on Thursday.

Also Read | Virus spread slows but two states still a worry

The Centre has asked local authorities to boost surveillance around water bodies, live bird markets, zoos and poultry farms.

Meanwhile, Delhi's Husbandry department has been put on a high alert due to the increasing number of bird flu cases in the neighbouring states.

So far, there are no cases of its transmission into humans, as per reports. The human-to-human transfer of avian influenza is 'very rare' and it has no connection with the novel coronavirus.

However, those working in the poultry farms should take necessary precautions like wearing PPE kits while working in the farm.

The current bird flu outbreak comes barely a few months after India on 30 September last year declared the country free from the disease.

Let's take a look at the current infection scenario in India:

Kerala - A three-member Central Government team visited Kerala on Thursday to assess the situation arising out of the bird flu outbreak in the Alappuzha and Kottayam districts of the state.

In Kerala, as many as 50,935 birds have been culled to stop the spread of the bird flu. This is in addition to the 25,000 odd birds that had died due to the bird flu outbreak in the state.

Himachal Pradesh - In the state's Pong wildlife sanctuary, around 381 more migratory birds were found dead, taking the death toll of the birds from the avian influenza to 3,409.

Odisha - The Odisha government has asked people to not panic over the incident as the avian influenza virus test came negative in all five selected samples. The Fisheries and Animal Resource Development Department in a statement said that people can consume chicken meat, eggs and other poultry products produced in the state after properly cooking them.

Haryana - The state Animal Husband and Dairying department has sent three samples to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal after the intervention of the Centre. Samples from two were found positive for H5N8 (avian influenza), JP Dalal, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Fisheries Minister of Haryana, said.

Rajasthan - Deaths of over 170 new birds were reported from some districts in the state recently, taking the total fatalities to over 425.

Jammu and Kashmir - 150 crows were found dead in Jaganoo area of Udhampur district, Jammu and Kashmir amid the bird flu outbreak. Samples of dead crows have been sent for testing to detect if they died from the bird flu.

In the wake of several reports of poultry, crows, migratory bird deaths, the Centre has established a central Control room to strategise, co-ordinate and facilitate state governments with regard to outbreak management, disease control and containment.

Moreover, two central teams have been deployed to visit the affected states of Kerala, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for monitoring and for epidemiological investigation.

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