Bird Flu Threat
- 04 Jan 2021
- 3 min read
Why in News
Hundreds of crows have died in Rajasthan prompting authorities to sound a bird flu alert in the state.
- Bird flu, also known as Avian influenza (AI), is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.) as well as pet birds and wild birds.
- Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.
- Influenza viruses are grouped into three types; A, B, and C. Only type A is known to infect animals and is zoonotic, meaning it can infect animals and also humans. Type B and C mostly infect humans and typically cause mild disease.
- Avian influenza virus subtypes include A(H5N1), A(H7N9), and A(H9N2).
- Influenza viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). For example, a virus that has an HA 7 protein and NA 9 protein is designated as subtype H7N9.
- Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) A(H5N1) virus occurs mainly in birds and is highly contagious among them.
- HPAI Asian H5N1 is especially deadly for poultry.
- Avian Influenza outbreaks can lead to devastating consequences for the country, particularly the poultry industry.
- Farmers might experience a high level of mortality in their flocks, with rates often around 50%.
- Strict biosecurity measures and good hygiene are essential in protecting against disease outbreaks.
- If the infection is detected in animals, a policy of culling infected and contact animals is normally used in an effort to rapidly contain, control and eradicate the disease.
- India’s Status:
- Previously in 2019, India was declared free from Avian Influenza (H5N1), which had also been notified to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
- The status will last only till another outbreak is reported.
World Organization for Animal Health
- The OIE is an intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide.
- It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
- In 2018, it had a total of 182 Member Countries. India is a member country.
- It is headquartered in Paris, France.