The Central government on Wednesday confirmed Avian Influenza, commonly known as 'bird flu', cases have been reported from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala.
The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying informed this after the samples from these states were tested positive by Indian Council of Agricultural Research -National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (ICAR-NIHSAD).
In an official statement, the ministry said in Rajasthan, bird flu is reported in crows in Baran, Kota and Jhalawar district, while Madhya Pradesh also reported the disease in crows in Mandsaur, Indore and Malwa districts.
"In Himachal Pradesh, the bird flu is reported in migratory birds in Kangra, while in Kerala it is reported in poultry-duck in Kottayam and Allapuzha districts," it said.
The ministry said an advisory was issued to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on January 1, 2021, asking to avoid further spread of the infection.
"As per the information received from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, control measures are being taken as per the guidelines of the National Action Plan of Avian Influenza. Another advisory has been issued on January 5, 2021, to Himachal Pradesh where the state has been advised to take measures so as to avoid further spread of disease to poultry. As per the report received, Kerala has already initiated control and containment operations from January 5, 2021 at epicenters, and the culling process is in operation," the ministry further stated.
The ministry also informed that it has set up a control room in New Delhi to keep watch on the situation and to take stock on a daily basis of preventive and control measures undertaken by state authorities.
Kerala Minister for Forest, Animal husbandry and Dairy development K Raju on Tuesday confirmed that that about 12,000 ducks had died and around 40,000 birds will be culled in the region where bird flu has been reported.
The state government had said bird flu is declared as state-specific disaster in Kerala and high alert has been issued after an outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in certain parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts.
"The measures suggested to the affected states to contain the disease and prevent further spread as per the Action Plan on Avian Influenza include 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, intensification of surveillance plan as well as the general guidelines for the prevention of disease spread from affected birds to poultry and human," the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said.
On Tuesday, Madhya Pradesh Animal Husbandry Minister Prem Singh Patel also said an alert has been sounded to control the deaths of crows in the state after nearly 400 crows were found dead in 10 districts.
The Central government has suggested to the states to coordinate with the forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds, and asked the other states to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality amongst birds and to report immediately to take necessary measures.
Bird flu virus H5N1 has killed 2,403 migratory birds so far in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district, the state government said on Tuesday. Due to this, a 10-km alert zone was declared where no sale of eggs allowed and poultry markets closed, said the State Animal Husbandry Department.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Animal Husbandry Minister Lalchand Kataria also said it is a matter of concern as it impacted the birds and poultry industry. More than 50 birds were found dead in the Baran district on Tuesday.
Notably, bird flu viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries with four known major outbreaks recorded in the last century. India notified the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006. 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. 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.
In view of a threat of a global outbreak of AI, the DAHD had prepared an action plan in 2005, which was revised in 2006, 2012, 2015 and 2021 for the guidance of state government for prevention, control and containment of Avian Influenza in the country.
(With ANI inputs)