- The Haryana government on Friday ordered culling of at least 1.66 lakh poultry birds from five poultry farms in a 1-km radius of two farms in Panchkula samples of which tested positive for bird flu.
- The culling will start Saturday. Adequate arrangements including digging of pits, gunny bags to be used for packing the dead birds, PPE kits for the workers, bleaching powder for burying the dead birds etc were made. The state government has decided to compensate the affected farm owners with Rs 90 for each bird culled.
- The decision was taken after the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, confirmed presence of Avian Influenza (H5N8) virus in samples from the two farms near Raipurrani, a part of Barwala poultry belt — the second largest poultry belt in Asia. The area within a 1-km radius of the two farms was declared “Infected Zone” and the area between 1-10 km “Surveillance Zone”.
- State Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister J P Dalal said, “At least a 10-km area in the radius of the epicentre has been cordoned off for the next one month.”
- The Assam government, too, has imposed an indefinite ban on the entry of poultry products from outside the Northeast region as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, following the death of 120 poultry birds in Odisha’s Khurda district, the state government has assured that all samples from the state so far have tested negative for bird flu. “Five samples were sent for testing, all of which tested negative for the virus based on the Avian Influenza virus antigen test,” an official said. In a statement, Ratnakar Rout, Commissioner, Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, has informed that poultry products are safe for consumption.
- Tripura has issued an advisory to keep a strict watch for unusual sickness or mortality in poultry birds and wild or migratory birds. In the advisory, Animal Resources Development Department Director Dr K Sashi Kumar said, “Strict vigil and action by all the departmental functionaries should be activated to prevent any possible ingress of the avian influenza (HPAI) in the state of Tripura.”
- In Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur reviewed the situation as the number of dead migratory birds at the Pong wildlife sanctuary in Kangra district reached 3,409 on Thursday. Thakur said, “A team of Forest and Animal Husbandry officials is working to prevent its further spread. We are also checking other water bodies in the state, but till now other areas are safe.”
Bird Flu Threat
- Hundreds of crows have died in Rajasthan prompting authorities to sound a bird flu alert in the state.
- Bird flu, also known as Avian influenza (AI), is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) as well as pet birds and wild birds.
- Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.
- Influenza viruses are grouped into three types; A, B, and C. Only type A is known to infect animals and is zoonotic, meaning it can infect animals and also humans. Type B and C mostly infect humans and typically cause mild disease.
- Avian influenza virus subtypes include A(H5N1), A(H7N9), and A(H9N2).
- Influenza viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). For example, a virus that has an HA 7 protein and NA 9 protein is designated as subtype H7N9.
- Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus occurs mainly in birds and is highly contagious among them.
- HPAI Asian H5N1 is especially deadly for poultry.
- Avian Influenza outbreaks can lead to devastating consequences for the country, particularly the poultry industry.
- Farmers might experience a high level of mortality in their flocks, with rates often around 50%.
- Strict biosecurity measures and good hygiene are essential in protecting against disease outbreaks.
- If the infection is detected in animals, a policy of culling infected and contact animals is normally used in an effort to rapidly contain, control and eradicate the disease.
- Previously in 2019, India was declared free from Avian Influenza (H5N1), which had also been notified to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
- The status will last only till another outbreak is reported.
World Organization for Animal Health
- The OIE is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide.
- It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- In 2018, it had a total of 182 Member Countries. India is a member country.
- It is headquartered in Paris, France.