- Nine states have confirmed bird flu so far namely Delhi, Maharashtra, UP, MP, Haryana, Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal and Gujarat
- The Parliamentary Meeting is set to take place at 3 PM today
- Haryana has recorded the highest number of deaths of birds in the last few weeks, more than 4 lakh birds have died
Amid nationwide efforts to curb the outbreak, as Delhi and Maharashtra have also reported bird flu. Seven other states have previously reported avian influenza as the cause of recent bird deaths namely- Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry have been summoned by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture to discuss the availability of animal vaccines in the country, and the meeting will take place today at 3 pm. Haryana has recorded the highest number of deaths of birds; in the last few weeks, more than 4 lakh birds have died. Also on alert are Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh.
Here are 10 Big Developments:
1. Delhi has banned the importation of live birds and has temporarily shut down the largest wholesale poultry market in Ghazipur. Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister of Delhi said on Saturday, “To contain the spread, rapid response teams have been formed in each district. Veterinary doctors are also constantly on the lookout. The major stress is especially on the poultry markets in Sanjay Lake, Hauz Khas and Bhalswa Lake.”
2. Parbhani – about 500 km from the state capital of Mumbai – is the epicenter of Maharashtra. In the last two days, about 800 poultry birds – all hens – died. Their samples were given for testing. And now it is confirmed that bird flu is the cause. Deepak Madhukar Muglikar, District Collector, told one of the leading news channels of the country. In the village of Murumba, it has been confirmed. There are 8,000 birds in about eight poultry farms. We have orders to kill those poultry birds, he said. In order to review the bird flu situation, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will hold a meeting this evening.
3. In Kerala, after 12,000 ducks died and tens of thousands of birds were culled last week when the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza was confirmed in parts of the Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. Only the affected parts have been regulated for the selling of poultry and related goods.
4. In Haryana, one of the leading news agencies reported that the culling of over 1.6 lakh birds at five poultry farms started on Saturday in Panchkula district. Over the last two and three weeks, more than four lakh birds have been found dead in the state.
5. Himachal Pradesh confirmed the deaths of over 2,000 birds at the Pong Dam Sanctuary, most of them bar-headed geese. In Kangra district, marked as an epicentre, the slaughter, selling, purchase and export of any poultry birds, fish of any breed and their related items, including eggs, meat, chicken, have been prohibited.
6. Across the country, the government has requested the Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories to track the situation and to keep effective contact with health officials open, especially with regard to preventing the spread of the disease to humans. They were also asked to monitor water bodies, bird markets, zoos, poultry farms, and all their surrounding areas.
7. States were also ordered to ensure the availability of PPE kits and accessories for use in the killing of birds and the disposal of carcasses and waste from birds. They have also been asked to counter rumors impacting customers of poultry products. It is anticipated that they will raise awareness of their safety, especially after boiling or cooking the products.
8. The government explained last week that the disease is “zoonotic” but, according to the government, infection in humans has not been reported in India.
9. The first Avian Influenza outbreak in 2006 was reported by India. With four known major outbreaks reported in the last century, bird flu viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries, the center said in a statement.
10. In India, the disease is primarily transmitted by migratory birds entering the country from September-October to February-March during the winter months. According to the government, secondary transmission by human handling (through fomites) cannot be excluded.