India declares itself free from bird flu: All about it-Prelims-2017

India has declared itself free from bird flu or Avian Influenza (H5N1) virus, while stressing the need for continued surveillance. The government has notified the same to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

According to the Department of Animal Husbandry under the Agriculture Ministry they made the announcement as the last case of the disease was declared in May 2016, in Humnabad, Bidar district, Karnataka.

Listed below are the measures taken by the government to eliminate bird flu:

  • Stamping out the entire poultry population, including eggs, feed, litter and other infected material
  • Restriction on movement of poultry and poultry products to and from the area of outbreak
  • Disinfection and cleaning up of infected premises
  • Also, surveillance was carried out throughout the country after the outbreak

What is Avian Influenza (AI)?

Also known as bird flu, it is an infectious viral disease of birds.


  • Initial symptoms include high fever, usually with a temperature higher than 38 degree Centigrade, and other influenza-like symptoms (cough or sore throat). Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums
  • Development of lower respiratory tract also happens early in the illness. Respiratory distress, a hoarse voice, and a crackling sound when inhaling are commonly seen. Sputum production is variable and sometimes bloody

Here are the key facts about bird flu:

  • Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans; however some, such as A(H5N1) and A(H7N9), have caused serious infections in people
  • AI viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these AI viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or subclinical infections in humans and other mammals
  • The incubation period for A(H5N1) avian influenza may be longer than that for normal seasonal influenza
  • AI viruses are divided into 2 groups based on their ability to cause disease in poultry, which are high pathogenicity and low pathogenicity

Highly pathogenic viruses have been known to result in high death rates (up to 100 per cent mortality within 48 hours) in some poultry species.

Low pathogenicity viruses also cause outbreaks in poultry but are not generally associated with severe disease.

Source: India Today

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