India fights to contain multiple bird flu outbreaks

New Delhi, Jan 7 (efe-epa).- India is struggling to contain the spread of bird flu after outbreaks were detected in several states, authorities said Thursday, amid fears that the disease could also infect humans.

The outbreaks have been detected in the northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, western Rajasthan, central Madhya Pradesh and southern Kerala, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said in a statement.

“In the wake of the recent unusual mortality of poultry, crows and migratory birds (…), a meeting with the states was convened (…) to understand the status of the outbreak of Avian Influenza and to suggest measures for control, containment and prevention of spread of the disease,” it said.

According to the latest data released by the Ministry, 21,555 birds have been culled in Kerala.

In the last 25 days, 430,227 unusual bird deaths have been detected in Haryana, in addition to the finding of other dead wild and migratory birds in Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh and dead crows in Rajasthan.

After confirming the detection of avian flu in those states, Indian authorities confirmed that in Haryana and Kerala the virus is the H5N8 strain.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that that strain is not among the most common strains that infect humans, such as H5N1, H7N7 or H9N2.

Even so, authorities are coordinating “for close vigilance of the disease status and avoid any chances of jumping the disease spreading into humans,” with consumer awareness of the precautions to be taken.

According to WHO, these precautions include, in addition to maintaining hand hygiene, avoiding contact with high-risk environments such as live animal markets and poultry farms, avoiding contact with dead or sick migratory and wild birds, and avoiding consumption of undercooked eggs or poultry products. EFE-EPA


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