Nearly 25,000 birds have succumbed due to different variants of bird flu across the country in states like Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, prompting the Centre to issue alert to the states to monitor health of birds in forest areas and near water bodies.
The grim development comes just a month before India is set to witness a second migration period.
The Union ministry of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying on Wednesday pointed to migratory birds as a cause for the spread of flu which has triggered an alarm in north, central and southern India. “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,” the ministry said.
So far, the avian influenza has been reported from 12 epicentres of four states – Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala – after confirmation of positive samples from ICAR-NIHSAD.
The ongoing outbreak has been reported from these parts of India:
1. Rajasthan(crow) – Baran, Kota, Jhalawar
2. Madhya Pradesh(crow) – Mandsaur, Indore, Malwa
3. Himachal Pradesh (migratory birds) – Kangra
4. Kerala (poultry-duck) – Kottayam, Allapuzha (4 epicentres)
The government has rushed to control the outbreak and prevent further spread by asking states to strengthen the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfect the affected areas, and properly dispose of dead birds and carcasses.
The animal husbandry ministry has also asked states for timely collection and submission of samples for confirmation and further surveillance and intensification of surveillance plan.
To prevent the disease transmission from affected birds to poultry and humans, the ministry has asked states to follow the general prevention guidelines.
“Coordination with the forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds was also suggested to the States. The other states were also requested to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality amongst birds and to report immediately to take necessary measures,” the ministry said in a statement.
A control room has also been set up in New Delhi to keep watch on the situation and take stock on a daily basis of preventive and control measures undertaken by state authorities.