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June 1, 2024

Central Government Issues Advisory Following Bird Flu Outbreaks in Four States

The central government has issued a public health advisory after outbreaks of the H5N1 virus, also known as avian influenza or bird flu, were reported in four states: Andhra Pradesh (Nellore district), Maharashtra (Nagpur district), Jharkhand (Ranchi district), and Kerala (Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Pathanamthitta districts). This advisory calls for heightened vigilance and preventive measures across all states and Union Territories (UTs) to monitor and respond to any unusual bird or poultry deaths.

Avian influenza is a highly pathogenic virus that spreads from migratory birds and can cause significant outbreaks among domesticated poultry. Notably, the virus has the potential to be transmitted to humans, making it essential to contain its spread effectively.

In a joint statement, Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Atul Goel and Animal Husbandry Commissioner Abhijit Mitra emphasized the urgency of the situation. “Given that avian influenza is highly pathogenic and has the potential to be transmitted to humans, it is imperative to take necessary steps to minimize and prevent the spread of this infection,” they stated.

The advisory outlines several critical actions for state and UT administrations. It recommends orienting healthcare workers and private practitioners to recognize case definitions and symptoms of avian influenza promptly. Additionally, the advisory urges states to enhance biosecurity measures across all poultry establishments, zoos, and markets. This includes the preparation of adequate stockpiles of antiviral drugs like oseltamivir, ensuring the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), and setting up isolation wards and beds.

Furthermore, the advisory highlights the importance of increased surveillance in wet markets, abattoirs, and among poultry farm workers. Regular monitoring for severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) is also advised to detect potential cases early. States that have reported outbreaks are specifically instructed to conduct surveillance for suspected human cases and provide health check-ups for individuals involved in culling operations and poultry farm workers within ten days of exposure.

The DGHS underscored the importance of these measures, especially considering recent concerns about avian influenza outbreaks in cattle in several US states, where a human case of the H5N1 virus has also been reported since March this year.

By maintaining rigorous biosecurity protocols and enhancing surveillance efforts, the central government aims to curb the spread of the H5N1 virus and safeguard public health. The advisory calls for a coordinated response to mitigate the risks associated with avian influenza, emphasizing the critical need for preparedness and proactive measures across the country.

In summary, the central government’s advisory serves as a crucial reminder of the ongoing threat posed by avian influenza. By implementing the recommended measures, state and UT administrations can help prevent further outbreaks and protect both poultry and human populations from the potentially severe impacts of this virus.

Read more latest news on R9 News

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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