It is that part of the year when migratory birds make a trip to Udaipur. The bird watching festival and the presence of a variety of species near the lakes in and around Udaipur is a much awaited annual event in Udaipur, especially for the bird lovers. However, this year the fear of spread of avain influenza or bird flu has caught us off guard, as authorities have already been bogged down by COVID-19.
Kota, Baran and Jhalawar areas of Rajasthan have been the worst hit in the state, apart from certain areas in Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. In all, the central government authorities have identified 12 epicentres in India, of which 3 are in Rajasthan, one each in Mandsaur, Malwa, Indore, Kangra, Kottayam and 4 in Alappuzha. A few cases reported in Jodhpur and Nagaur as well but not classified as epicentres.
After the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006, the country was declared free of bird flu in September 30, but less than 3 months thence, the influenza struck back. While the authorities are undertaking efforts in arresting the spread, the public advisory issued by the central task force is for residents in India to adhere to.
These are the guidelines that people need to follow:
Authorities have taken steps to regulate and control nature parks in Udaipur, including Gulab Bagh, Sajjangarh, Biological Park and those lakes where migratory birds are seen frequently.
Bird Flu / Avian Influenza explained
Bird flu or avian influenza is the name used to describe a viral infection that is reported mostly in birds, but has the potential to affect humans and other animals. The most common strain of the virus that causes severe respiratory disease in birds is H5N1; various other strains like H7, H8 too, cause infection.
Samples from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala have tested positive for the A (H5N8) strain of the virus, while samples from Himachal Pradesh have shown the presence of A (H5N1).