No evidence of bird flu transmission to humans via contaminated poultry consumption


By NS Desk 06-Jan-2021

Bird Flu

New Delhi- Amid the outbreak of bird flu, the Central government on Wednesday assured that no infection has yet been reported in humans and that there is no direct evidence that the avian influenza virus transmits to humans via consumption of contaminated poultry products.

Avian Influenza (AI) 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," the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying said in a statement.

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.

Implementing the management practices that incorporate bio security principles, personal hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection protocols, as well as cooking and processing standards, are effective means of controlling the spread of the avian influenza virus.

After confirmation of positive samples from ICAR-NIHSAD, the avian influenza virus has been reported from Rajasthan (crow), Madhya Pradesh (crow), Himachal Pradesh (migratory birds), and Kerala (poultry duck) at 12 epicenters.

The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying 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.

Accordingly, an advisory has also been issued each to Rajasthan and MP on January 1, so as 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 at epicenters, and the culling process is in operation.

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 or 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.

Coordination with the forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds was also suggested to the states. The other states were also requested to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality amongst birds and to report immediately to take necessary measures. (IANS)

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