Centre sets up committee to monitor bird flu

Amidst rising incidence of avian influenza (H5N8) in the capital and in some states such as Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, the centre has constituted a committee headed by joint commissioner in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries (DADF) to maintain constant vigil on the situation.

The committee will have representatives from the ministry of health and the ministry of environment, forests and climate change and the Department of Agriculture Research and Extension (DARE) as well as representative of the Delhi government.

Besides, monitoring the situation, the committee will assist the state government in taking steps to contain the spread of Avian Influenza.

The centre has also established a control room in DADF, which can be reached on telephone numbers: 011-23384190 and 09448324121.

Joint commissioner Dr. Munialappa has been named as the nodal officer and will be available for advice and help round the clock.

The National High Security lab for animal diseases (NIHSAD), the four regional laboratories, and the central lab at IVRI have been instructed to give all assistance to the state governments and get samples tested in an emergency response manner.

NIHSAD is recognised by the world body OIE for disease diagnosis in South Asia

In fact all 45 samples obtained from Delhi government at the Bhopal lab have been tested within the stipulated 72 hour time frame as per bio-security level -4 requirements and 13 cases have tested positive for H5N8. Similarly test results have been given for other cases in Kerala, Punjab and MP. As per available reports from other states, the disease incidence is in control.

The centre has issued guidelines to animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries departments of the states for maintaining cleanliness in the zoological parks housing wild birds, water bodies as well as meat / poultry market areas where meat is sold. Necessary precautions for human beings coming in the contact with poultry have also been reinforced although as per WHO observations.

However, the transmission of H5N8 virus is very low and there will be no trade impact of the incidence as per global OIE criteria, an official release stated.

The central and state administrations have been advised to keep a close watch on areas where there are lakes and in case of any suspicious death of birds.

Daily meetings are being held at the Animal Husbandry Commissioner level in DADF to advise the state governments in case of emergency.

It may recalled that on 17 September 2016 some birds had died in the Delhi Zoological Park and thereafter birds had died in six other areas.

A sample was sent to NIHSAD, and on the same day it was confirmed that the birds had died of H5NH8 virus. A close watch is being maintained and necessary advisories have been issued to all states to keep a vigil on areas frequented by birds both domestic and migratory.