Avian Influenza (AI) or Bird Flu
Avian Influenza (AI) or bird flu is a variety of influenza caused by virus adapted to birds. Most common of the virus is H5N1 strain which is detected globally.
How it spreads the Infection?
Lethal virus is easily transmitted within birds, highly contagious. Birds can shed avian influenza saliva, nasal secretion and faeces. Susceptible birds become infected by having contact with virus left behind by the infected birds. Low pathogenic and high pathogenic avian influenza as two categories determined by the effect of the virus.
Why it is in the News?
Following the death of several crows at 12 epicentres in 4 states, Avian influenza has caused a major concern in the department of animal husbandry and dairying.
AI has been a reason to worry for quite some time with four known outbreaks in last century.
India first reported Bird flu back in 2004, since then India has been facing this threat of Avian influenza between the period of September-October to February-March because of migratory birds nesting in our lands.
How it came to light?
India is witnessing bird fall in every direction. 381 migratory birds were reported dead in Himachal Pradesh increasing the total of 3088. 150 crows were found dead in Jammu’s Udhampur, 9 in Uttar Pradesh. Kerala government has declared bird flu as state specific disaster since 10,500 birds were reported as bird flu affected.
Steps taken by the Authorities
The possibility of secondary spread cannot be ruled out. Steps of prevention are priority. First being reported in Rajasthan, bird flu has reached Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala. After the detection of H5N8 strain of bird flu in Kerala, precautionary measures are being taken prohibiting restocking of birds for 90 days and authorities are asked to be on high alert. Union Health Ministry has put up a Delhi based control room to keep tap on the situation.
Is there a reason to panic ?
Due to the fear of transmission, the department of animal husbandry and dairying prepared an action plan in 2005 which has been recently revised due to ongoing AI.
Although no human transmission has been recorded in India yet and no evidence supports the theory of transmission of AI through consumption of poultry products, personal hygiene, disinfection protocol and cooking standard with other guidelines has been issued by the department.
Will it be a Economic hit?
Bird flu has hit many pockets too. Egg sellers are complaining of 30% drop in sales. Due to the fear of transmission people stopped buying chicken and local vendors just cannot catch a break. First due to covid and now with bird flu, seasonal but rough.
India first experienced the wave of bird flu in 2005 and since then the nation suffered with this misery till 2016, when India, after completion of disinfection and post operation surveillance, was declared free from Avian influenza.
What to expect
No human transmission has been reported yet, but yes, basic guidelines has been issued by the authorities and AI affecting human is very remote. Workers at poultry farms and raw meat sellers are at higher risk. Regular checkups are being held so ensure zero human transmission and hold the record. Basic sanitation notice are being circulated as the process has been going on for a while.
Yes, precaution is better than cure. The world is already going through covid and another name to that list is a reason to worry. But again world got through covid ( almost ), it will get through this too. We have beaten AI before, we can do it again.
Topic :- What is Avian Influenza (AI) or Bird Flu ?
What is Avian Influenza (AI) or Bird Flu ?
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