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Bird Flu Spreads Uncontrollably Across India

Devanshi Doshi

Across India, lakhs of birds have been found dead in the last 10 days. More than 4 states including  Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan have confirmed bird flu.

Bird flu has been reported among wild geese in Himachal Pradesh, crows in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and ducks in Kerala. In Haryana, around one lakh poultry birds have died mysteriously in the last few days. In Himachal Pradesh’s Pong Dam Lake, around 1,800 migratory birds have been found dead. In Kerala, the flu has been detected in two districts, prompting authorities to order culling of ducks. More than 250 crows were found dead in half a dozen districts in Rajasthan. 15 pond herons were found dead today at a housing complex in Maharashtra's Thane. The carcasses have been sent to a veterinary hospital to find out the cause of death. 

The bird flu, also known as the avian influenza, is a highly contagious viral disease caused by Influenza Type A viruses which generally affects poultry birds such as chickens and turkeys. Some of the many strains of the virus are mild and may merely cause a low egg production or other mild symptoms among chickens, while others are severe and lethal.

"Bird flu cases can be found all over the world. India was declared free of bird flu in September. Then in October, we issued an advisory that the cold is coming and that there is a need to take precautions. Today, most of the cases are being reported from the places where migratory birds come, and they are the reason for bringing the virus to the country," Girraj Singh, Union minister of fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, told ANI on Wednesday.

The current bird flu outbreak comes few months after India on September 30, 2020, declared the country free from the disease. India notified the first outbreak of Avian Influenza in 2006.

"There is no direct evidence that AI viruses can be transmitted to humans via the consumption of contaminated poultry products. In India, the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into India during winter months i.e. from September - October to February - March. The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites) cannot be ruled out," Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said.

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