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India Declares itself Free of Bird Flu
Sep 22, 2016

India has declared itself free from avian influenza (H5N1) from September 5, 2016 and notified the same to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). India stressed the need for continued surveillance. In a letter to chief secretaries of states, the Centre has emphasised the need for continued surveillance especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds.

  • India had notified outbreak of avian influenza on 9 May 2016 at Humnabad, Bidar district, Karnataka.

To prevent any further spread of bird flu, the agriculture ministry undertook control measures. Entire poultry population was stamped out, including destruction of eggs, feed, litter and other infected materials. The movement of poultry and poultry products from the outbreak area was restricted, followed by disinfection of infected premises.

Surveillance was carried throughout the country and presence of bird flu was not found. In a letter to the state chief secretaries, the Centre has emphasised the need for continued surveillance, especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds.
Post the surveillance, the state has shown no evidence of presence of the disease. There has been no further outbreak reported in the country thereafter.

  • India’s first outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza occurred in February 2005 in Maharashtra, followed by the second in March 2006 in Madhya Pradesh. Over a million birds were culled at the time during control operations.
  • As per a government document, 25 episodes of bird flu took place in 15 states and union territores of India till January 2015.
  • A total of over 7.2 million birds were culled and Rs 24.32 crore paid as compensation to farmers.

Poultry is one of the fastest growing segments of the agricultural sector in India today. The production of eggs and broilers has been rising at a rate of 8 to 10 per cent per year. India is the world's fifth largest egg producer and the eighteenth largest producer of broilers, as per the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Bird flu affects mainly the domestic poultry. The disease spreads from infected birds to other winged creatures through contact with nasal and respiratory secretions and also due to contamination of feed and water.


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