Bird flu outbreak in 4 states; Haryana on high alert: Animal Husbandry Secy

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New Delhi, Jan 6 (PTI) Avian influenza or bird flu outbreak has been reported at 12 epicentres in four states -- Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, while Haryana is on high alert due to unusual mortality at poultry farms in Panchkula, a top official said on Wednesday.

Speaking to PTI, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Secretary Atul Chaturvedi said there is no need to panic and efforts are on to contain the spread of the infection.

So far, the disease has been found in migratory birds, crows and ducks, he said, adding that poultry chicken has not been affected.

'As of now, confirmed reports are from four states -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala.

'As regards Haryana is concerned, there has been unusual mortality in poultry farms in Panchkula. We have asked the state government to be vigilant and send the samples for testing and confirmation. That report is awaited.' he said.

As of now, the spread of bird flu is in four states, while Haryana is on 'high alert', he added.

The secretary said advisories have been issued to state governments to contain further spread of the infection in poultry ducks, crows and migratory birds.

The current bird flu outbreak comes barely a few months after India on September 30, 2020 declared the country free from the disease. India notified the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006.

Earlier, the ministry said other states have been asked to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality among birds.

'After confirmation of positive samples from ICAR-NIHSAD (National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases), Avian Influenza has been reported at 12 epicentres,' the ministry said in a statement.

Of the 12 epicentres, the bird flu has been reported in crows in Baran, Kota and Jhalawar regions of Rajasthan as well as Mandsaur, Indore and Malwa areas of Madhya Pradesh.

Whereas in Himachal Pradesh, the infection has been found in migratory birds in Kangra region and in poultry ducks in Kottayam, Alappuzha (four epicentres) in Kerala, it added.

On the current status of bird flu, the ministry said containment operations were conducted in villages of Thalavady South, Thakazhi, Pallipad, Karuvatta in Alappuzha district and village of Neendoor in Kottayam district of Kerala.

'As per the report received, a total of five Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have been deployed in above-said 4 epicentres of district of Alappuzha and eight RRTs at epicentre Neendoor in district of Kottayam for culling,' the ministry said.

A total of 17,326 birds (9,066 in Pallipad, 8,260 in Karuvatta) have been culled and a total of 1,570 kg feed has been destroyed in epicentres of Alappuzha district.

At an epicentre in Kottayam district, 4,229 birds have been culled and a total of 8 kg feed and 42 eggs were destroyed on Wednesday, the statement said.

Further, the ministry said that some samples of crow from Kale Hanumanji Forest Nakka, Jaipur, Rajasthan have been found positive for bird flu.

'Unusual moralities have been found in 7111 domestic birds in Haryana, 150 wild birds in Madhya Pradesh, 10 crows in Gujarat, 336 migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh today,' it added.

As per the report from Haryana, a total of 4,30,267 birds have died in Barwala, Panchkula in past 25 days and the samples have been sent to the designated laboratory for testing. The results are still awaited.

The state has constituted 59 RRTs to control and contain the disease, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the ministry has already set up a 'control room' in New Delhi to keep a watch on the situation and take stock on a daily basis regarding the preventive and control measures undertaken by the state authorities.

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

'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,' it noted.

As per the action plan on avian influenza (AI), the ministry has asked the affected states for 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.

It has also recommended intensification of surveillance plan as well as the general guidelines for prevention of disease spread from affected birds to poultry and humans.

The ministry has also asked the states to coordinate with the forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds. PTI LUX MJH LUX ABM ABM