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Bird Flu alert in Jharkhand after cases reported in state-run poultry farm, 2,196 birds culled

Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds (especially wild water fowl such as ducks and geese).

Arushi Jaiswal Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi Ranchi Updated on: April 24, 2024 23:20 IST
Bird flu, ranchi
Image Source : FILE PHOTO Representative image

Bird Flu alert: The Jharkhand government issued a warning following the detection of bird flu cases at a state-operated poultry farm in Ranchi, an official said on Wednesday. A total of 2,196 birds, including 1,745 chickens, were euthanized at the Regional Poultry Farm, Hotwar, according to an official. Additionally, 1,697 eggs were destroyed.

The presence of H5N1, a type of avian influenza A virus that causes disease in birds, was confirmed in the samples sent to the ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, the official said.

Centre asks state to take measures

The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying has directed the state to implement comprehensive measures to curb the spread of the disease.

Immediate actions, including identifying infected areas, enforcing restricted access to affected sites, culling of birds, and proper disposal of carcasses and contaminated materials, are mandated by the state government.

Authorities are instructed to designate a one km radius around the outbreak site as an infected area, with a ten km radius surrounding it designated as a surveillance zone.

The official said that the farm that was closed for renovation was opened barely three months back and got poultry from Bhubaneswar.

Furthermore, the Animal Husbandry Department has issued an advisory urging the public to report any sightings of deceased birds promptly.

 

About Avian flu

The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 is caused by a specific type of influenza virus, which usually affects poultry, chickens, ducks, geese, etc. 

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of this Influenza virus are similar to other viral respiratory illnesses including COVID-19. 

Signs and symptoms of severe disease which require the immediate attention of the doctor and hospitalization include high-grade persistent fever, difficulty in breathing, increased rates of breathing, severe or persistent vomiting, dehydration, low blood pressure, worsening of the existing chronic medical condition like asthma, diabetes, chest pain, and low oxygen saturations,  bluish discolouration of face and lips, confusion or disorientation. 

Having any of these symptoms should warrant a prompt visit to the doctor, as antiviral medications are available, which work well when started early in the course of the disease. They should not use over-the-counter medications like antibiotics and steroids, as this is a viral infection, and antibiotics have no role to play.

The complications of H5N1 can be severe pneumonia, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), requiring mechanical ventilation. 

Distinguishing this condition from other bacterial infections is also essential, through lab testing, as the management of both conditions is different. 

Prevention of H5N1 

Taking the influenza vaccine of this season, for the Southern Hemisphere, as prescribed by your doctor is recommended for all individuals above 6 months of age, to prevent the incidence and severity of the influenza. 

Infection can be avoided by not handling birds which are seemingly sick. The other precautions for preventing the disease are those similar to those that are recommended for COVID-19.

(With PTI inputs)

 

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