Bird flu spreads among poultry in 5 of 11 afflicted states despite culling
Avian influenza continues to spread among poultry in five of the 11 afflicted states, where culling and containment measures are on as economic losses have been estimated to be around ₹3,000 crore so far, analysts say.
Cases have been recurring in areas from where they were first reported and federal teams are assisting all states in coordinating containment measures, an official of the animal husbandry ministry said.
The H5N8 bird flu has spread among poultry in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra despite culling, the mainstay of stopping the spread of the virus, an official of the animal husbandry department said.
Avian influenza was confirmed in poultry again on Tuesday in samples from Allapuzha district in Kerala, the official said. In Maharashtra, fresh samples have tested positive in the districts of Nanded (Chikhari and Talahari villages), Satara (Marai Wadi), Latur (Davangaon), Nagpur (Waranga), Gadchiroli (Gadchiroli), Mumbai (Kalyan, Thane) and Beed (Warati).
“In all other affected epicentres, RRTs have been deployed and culling of poultry birds is underway. Surveillance work continues at the places where positive results have been reported in crows/migratory/wild birds,” an official statement said Wednesday.
New cases of bird flu have been confirmed in crows and wild migratory birds in Uttar Pradesh (Aliganj, Kheri), and Punjab (Rupnagar).
Culling operations continue in the districts of Harda and Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh and Balod of Chhattisgarh as well as in Panchkula district of Haryana, officials said.
“According to unofficial estimates, losses amount to possibly ₹3,000 crore,” Surinder Khanna, a poultry consultant, said.
The bird flu epidemic has been confirmed so far by the Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD) in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
Avian flu has significant economic impact.
When chicken prices crash, they tend to bring down maize prices too, hurting farm incomes.
Maize is a major feed used for poultry. The poultry industry consumes about 14 million tonne of corn annually.
While some samples from Balod in Chhattisgarh tested negative, the state still faces a higher threat level because of more bird deaths reported in the past 48 hours.
India has one of the highest incidences of bird flu outbreaks globally because it is in the path of three transnational flight corridors of migratory birds.
“The virus involved is zoonotic,” said C Tosh, a senior scientist from NIHSAD. The term zoonotic refers to any pathogen that can be transmitted from animals to humans. However, the threat to humans is extremely low at this stage, he said.