INDIA - With at least 70 wild birds and ducks killed due to avian influenza caused by H5N8 virus, nearly 1200 birds have already been culled in India by the government, writes Basudev Mahapatra.
First traced in the national capital Delhi, the virus has subsequently been found in bird samples from Madhya Pradesh and Kerala states. The first cases occurred on 17 October in a Delhi-based wildlife park.
Fearing that the disease would spread to bird sanctuaries and places where migratory birds stay in winter, the government of India has issued alerts throughout the country.
The government of India has constituted an inter-ministerial Committee to maintain constant vigil on the situation arising out of the avian influenza outbreaks. Besides monitoring the situation, the Committee will assist the states in taking steps to contain the spread of avian influenza, according to the ministry of agriculture.
All bird sanctuaries and areas close to lakes have been advised to keep a close watch on the situation and any case of suspicious death of birds should be brought to the government notice immediately, the ministry has said.
Major bird gathering sites like the Chilika lagoon, where thousands of migratory birds congregate during every winter, have been put on high alert. An advisory has been issued to step up surveillance around poultry firms as well.
However, despite appeals that there is no danger to the humans from H5N8 virus, the poultry market has been badly affected.
As the first state, the southern state of Tamil Nadu has advised its poultry owners not to buy chicken, ducks and eggs from bird-flu-affected Kerala.ThePoultrySite News Desk