THE MENACE OF AVIAN FLU:-India steps up vigil to curb spread

Introduction- Bird flu outbreaks have been affecting poultry around the globe for decades and culling of infected birds has been a common measure to contain the spread.
What is avian influenza?
It is highly contagious viral disease caused by influenza type-A viruses which generally affects poultry birds such as chickens & turkeys. There are many strains of viruses some of them are mild &may merely cause a low egg production among chickens, while others are severe and lethal.

How this spread?
Many birds carry the flu without developing sickness, & shed it in their droppings. Since birds excrete even while flying, they provide “a nice aerosol of influenza shedding it all over world”, in the words of American virology professor Vincent Racaniello. From water birds, many of them migrate and further spread to poultry and terrestrial birds.

Cause of spread?
FIn India, no case of bird flu in humans has been detected so far, according to the union health ministry. The department of animal husbandry has reported 25 episodes of H5N1 bird flu in poultry in 15 states. It has also been detected in crows.
Since the country is already in the throes of Covid-19 outbreak, officials carrying out the cullying process. The birds are likely to be incinerated or buried after the confirmation of bird flu in several states.

Now take a quick glance of location in India:-
1. Bird flu outbreaks in Kerala: 50,000 birds to be culled in two districts. The flu was detected among ducks in four panchayats in Alappuzha district – Thalavadi , Thakazhy, Pallipad and karuvatta and one panchayat in Kottayam animal husbandry officials were called by farmers due to the death of several ducks found on a large scale .
2. Less infectious variant bird flu detected in Rajasthan’s kota, baran districts the state reported: death of birds reached 625. Jhalawar avian influenza subtype H5N8 -less infectious said experts. Kota and Baran H5N1 little bit more infectious than Jhalawar one. 250 crows found dead
3. First noticed in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra dead crows tested positive.
4. Himachal Pradesh became 5th state in India considered with bird flu. 1,800 reached.

Quick glance of World:
1. Germany – 62,000 poultry culled when flu found in turkeys and ducks.
2. Japan to order nationwide disinfection against bird flu.
3. France confirms outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 on duck farm.
4. Kazakhstan caused by same H5N8 virus strains as recorded in Russia.
5. Philippines ban poultry products from Australia over bird flu.
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Symptoms of bird flu:
ON INFECTED BIRD- Comb becomes black in colour, Release of water from nose and eye, Swelling of head, eyelids, combs, neck and leg, Lack of energy and appetite, Irregular arrangement of feathers, Movement in a circular pattern, Sudden death of the bird.

ON INFECTED HUMAN- Coughing, fever, sore throat and aching muscles to eye infection and more serious pneumonia and other respiratory problems — ultimately threaten the life of humans.

How economy is affected?
Fast spreading of bird flu puts industry on edge, culling made a significant economic loss. The worst countries affected in this region are Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Trade has been affected by the spread which led to major uncertainty for future of commodities and its impact on GDP which is an important factor to assess.

If proper hygienic conditions of poultry farms is maintained then this disease could be checked or if left unattended may have disastrous results as once the domestic birds got infected, it may spread like a pandemic. Mass culling of affected species of birds is carried out by the government authorities which is the only way to check the spread of disease.

Ms. Samra Khan (K20087), M.Sc. Botany (Previous), School of Basic & Applied Sciences, Career Point University, Kota

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