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Govt steps up surveillance of Avian Flu; 4 states affected

New Delhi: The Centre and states have increased surveillance and taken necessary steps to control and prevent the spread of Avian Influenza that has affected four states and could infect humans and livestock of the country, as hundreds of birds have died in more than a week.

So far, there has been no reports of humans getting infected by the zoonotic virus.

The disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into India during winter months, from September – October to February – March.

The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites), officials say, cannot be ruled out.

Avian Influenza has been reported from 12 epicentres of four states — Rajasthan (crow) – Baran, Kota, Jhalawar, Madhya Pradesh (crow) – Mandsaur, Indore, Malwa, Himachal Pradesh (migratory birds) – Kangra, and Kerala (poultry-duck) Kottayam, Allapuzha.

The Centre has asked other states and Union Territories a keep a vigil on any unusual mortality amongst birds and to report immediately to take necessary measures.

The central government of has also set up a control room in New Delhi to keep a watch on the situation and to take stock on daily basis of preventive and control measures undertaken by State authorities.

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/carcasses, timely collection and submission of samples for confirmation and further surveillance, intensification of surveillance plan as well as the general guidelines for prevention of disease spread from affected birds to poultry and human, said the ministry of Animal husbandry and Fisheries.

Coordination with forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds was also suggested to the States in view of past experience of the infection in the country.

India had prepared an action plan in 2005 which was revised in 2006, 2012 , 2015 and 2021 for guidance of State governments for prevention, control and containment of the disease.

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