Indian Government Acts to Contain Avian Flu Outbreak in Wild Birds

INDIA - Bird flu outbreak in India has taken lives of about 50 birds in different zoos. While 33 migratory birds have died due to influenza in a Delhi-based wildlife park during the last five days, 18 Painted Storks have been killed within a week in a Gwalior-based Zoo in Madhya Pradesh, writes Basudev Mahapatra.
calendar icon 25 October 2016
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The states have closed their zoos to the public after strain of H5N8 avian influenza virus was traced in the initial sample of the birds.

"We have sounded alert across the state. However, no fowl death has been reported from any other part of state. Officers concerned are keeping a close watch," said Madhya Pradesh Animal Husbandry Director Dr RK Rokde.

There is no need to panic as the death of birds due to H5N8 virus has taken place in the wild species, he added.

In order to control the situation, the Delhi government has set up a 10-member team to spray anti-virus chemicals in the area.

“To increase immunity among birds, they will be given multi-vitamins and pieces of garlic along with their food,” said Delhi Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai.

Though the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has not issued any alert specific to the recent outbreak of avian influenza in India, it regularly emphasises the need to strengthen surveillance and early detection systems for diseases of domestic and wild animals throughout the world, and recommends making this a major objective of official health policies.

“There is no evidence to suggest H5N8 is pathogenic to humans,” OIE says.

The bird flu outbreak has badly hurt the poultry market that started reviving after India declared itself bird-flu-free in the month of September. Despite appeals made by the government not to panic, the demand for poultry meat and eggs has fallen down since the news started spreading.

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