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How serious is the bird flu outbreak in India, and how can it be contained?

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  • Categories
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    13th Jan, 2021


  • Avian influenza, popularly known as bird flu, has been reported from Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh in recent weeks.

What is about the virus strains of bird flu?

  • Avian Influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease, affecting a variety of birds, including those connected with human consumption
  • The H5N1, H5N2, H5N8, H7N8 have been identified in outbreaks.
  • The two virus types H5N1 and H5N8come under the category of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI).

Does bird flu pose a threat to human beings?

  • The WHO states that humans can be infected with virus subtypes H5N1, H7N9 and H9N2.
  • Human-to-human transmission is believed to have taken place in some instances as a result of close or prolonged contact, but “there has been no sustained human-to-human transmission identified”.

Why does bird flu recur?

  • They persist in a vast reservoir of aquatic birds
  • Local bird-keeping conditions
  • Continuous growth in poultry farming under poor sanitary conditions

What steps can be taken to minimise risk to domestic birds?

  • Governments should lay down biosecurity measures to keep domestic birds safe from transmission by wild or migratory birds and prevent local spread.
  • In India, the Central government requires veterinary staff to conduct inspections periodically under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009.
  • The international collaborations such as Delhi declaration can be adapted with some significant measures to contain it.

Verifying, please be patient.