Tuesday , March 26 2019

Bird flu: Centre issues health alert to states

45 samples from Delhi were received by National Institute of High-Security Animal Disease and out of that 13 have tested positive for AH5N8.

New Delhi: With birds in some areas of the country testing positive for avian influenza (Bird flu), the Centre on Tuesday gave out a health advisory to states requesting them to reduce bird-human interface to avoid an occurrence of bird flu.

Birds in Delhi, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) and Kerala have tested positive avian influenza AH5N8, which according to the WHO (World Health Organisation), is considered less risky of being spread to humans. But the government is taking no chances.

In an advisory to Chief Secretaries of all states and Union territories, Health Secretary C K Mishra itemised out precautions to be taken to avoid an outbreak and offered central assistance if required.

In view of the World Health Organisation report describing AH5N8 as less risky of being transmitted, Animal Husbandry Secretary Devendra Chaudhary stated there would be no influence on poultry trade.

“On the public health risk of avian influenza AH5N8, WHO has informed that ‘based on the current knowledge the risk of zoonotic transmission is considered low for H5N8’ for the human population,” Mishra stated.

“Though, as a matter of ample caution, you are requested to educate the concerned department in your state/ UT to reduce bird-human interface, use personal protective equipment by those handling dead or sick birds, keep person exposed to the dead/sick birds under reconnaissance and provide them chemoprophylaxis (Oseltamivir 75 mg once daily for 10 days),” he stated in the advisory.

Describing media about the situation, the Animal Husbandry Secretary stated that 45 samples from Delhi were received by the National Institute of High-Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD), Bhopal and out of that 13 have tested positive for AH5N8. Rest

32 samples tested negative but these samples are now being tested for particular other virus.

“Advisories have been issued by our department as well as the Health Ministry to all states,” he stated, give emphasis to that the situation is under control.

Chaudhary stated the 3 states have been asked to follow the ‘Action Plan of Animal Husbandry for readiness, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza’, which was issued by the Centre in 2015.

Asked about the opening of the National Zoological Park in Delhi, he stated the decision on this matter can be taken after 45 days.

“As per the procedure, there should be random sampling and surveillance for every 45 days and only after then a decision can be taken on the opening of the place,” he added.

In Delhi, 2 more ducks succumbed to alleged avian influenza, taking the toll to 66. In Kerala, the outbreak of the virus in ducks has been confirmed after some samples tested positive.


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