The Centre has alerted States on post-monsoon outbreak of highly contagious avian influenza or bird flu, which has the potential to be transmitted from birds and poultry to human beings (zoonotic risk).
In an advisory to the governments, the Centre said that as in the past there was a “high risk” of occurrence of avian influenza after monsoon. Therefore States must step up vigil and surveillance of potential sources of infection such as in indigenous fowls and ducks and migratory birds.
Avian influenza was reported early last month from a poultry production unit in Durg and a government-run farm in Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh. As is the international practice, nearly 2,500 birds were destroyed to prevent the disease from spreading. This entails not only loss to poultry farmers and the government because of stamping out of infected birds, but also in terms of payment of compensation to farmers and commercial loss in trade.
While there have been cases near border States last year, Bhutan reported bird flu cases a fortnight ago in a backyard poultry farm near the national highway and had to kill nearly 2,000 birds. Emphasising the importance of early detection of the disease in poultry and a rapid response to contain the disease, the Department of Animal Husbandry under the Agriculture Ministry has asked the States to keep a watch on any unusual sickness or death in birds, including backyard poultry.