Avian Influenza: Centre Issues Advisory Amid Bird Flu Outbreaks in 4 States

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday issued a nationwide advisory urging states and union territories to monitor for unusual bird or poultry deaths following avian influenza (bird flu) outbreaks.

The affected states include Andhra Pradesh (Nellore), Maharashtra (Nagpur), Kerala (Kottayam, Alappuzha, and Pathanamthitta), and Jharkhand (Ranchi). This alert comes amid a global rise in avian influenza, with the United States reporting outbreaks among cattle and one human case of the H5N1 virus.

Avian influenza has been a recurring issue in India since 2006. Notably, in December 2014, an outbreak at Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake led to the deaths of numerous ducks and geese, prompting culling operations.

Highlighting the virus’s potential to infect humans, Director-General of Health Services Atul Goel and Animal Husbandry Commissioner Abhijit Mitra emphasized the need for robust preventive measures. States are instructed to enhance biosecurity in poultry establishments, zoos, and markets, stockpile antiviral drug oseltamivir, and ensure the availability of protective equipment and isolation facilities.

In the affected states, culling of infected poultry and heightened surveillance for human cases are mandated. Surveillance should also be intensified in wet markets, slaughterhouses, and among poultry farm workers, alongside monitoring Severe Acute Respiratory Illness cases.

Since March 2024, global concerns have risen due to avian influenza outbreaks in US cattle, where one human H5N1 case has been recorded. The avian influenza virus typically circulates among migratory birds and can occasionally spill over to domesticated poultry and humans.

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