Bird flu scare: Govt issues health alert to states

An outbreak in 2006 had resulted in the culling of chickens and destruction of eggs in huge swathes of the country. Though people don�t catch the virus from eating fully cooked chicken or eggs.

Bird flu scare: Govt issues health alert to states

In view of the bird flu deaths in some parts of the country, the Centre on Wednesday issued  a health advisory to states asking them to minimise bird-human interface to prevent an outbreak of bird flu. After some birds were tested positive for the avian influenza, Delhi government had already shut down zoological garden and deer park temporarily last week.

According to the World Health Organisation, bird- flu deaths in Delhi, Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) and Kerala has been considered less risky of being transmitted to humans. Although, the government is taking no chances.

In an advisory to Chief Secretaries of all states and Union territories, Health Secretary C K Mishra listed out precautions to be taken to prevent an outbreak and offered central assistance if needed.

In view of the WHO report describing AH5N8 as less risky of being transmitted, Animal Husbandry Secretary Devendra Chaudhary said there would be no impact on poultry trade.

In the advisory, Mishra said:"On the public health risk of avian influenza AH5N8, World Health Organisation has informed that 'based on the current knowledge the risk of zoonotic transmission is considered low for H5N8' for human population."

"However, as a matter of abundant caution, you are requested to instruct the concerned department in your state/ UT to minimise bird-human interface, use personal protective equipment by those handling dead or sick birds, keep person exposed to the dead/sick birds under surveillance and provide them chemoprophylaxis (Oseltamivir 75 mg once daily for 10 days)," he said in the advisory.

Speaking to reporters about the current situation, the Animal Husbandry Secretary said that 45 samples from Delhi were received by the National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD), Bhopal and out of that 13 have tested positive for AH5N8. Rest 32 samples tested negative but these samples are now being tested for some other virus.

"Advisories have been issued by our department as well as the Health Ministry to all states," he said, asserting that the situation is under control.

Chaudhary said the three states have been asked to follow the 'Action Plan of Animal Husbandry for Preparedness, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza', which was released by the Centre in 2015.