Avian Influenza Spreads: Centre Urges Swift Preventive Action

Avian Influenza Spreads: Centre Urges Swift Preventive Action

H5N1 infection, mainly transmitted by migratory birds

bird flu

In response to the detection of H5N1 virus cases in four states, the Centre has urged all states and Union Territories to take several preventive actions. H5N1 infection, mainly transmitted by migratory birds, frequently leads to outbreaks in domesticated poultry and can be easily transmitted to humans.

States have also been instructed to monitor for any unusual deaths among domestic birds or poultry and to promptly report such cases to the Department of Animal Husbandry. This will facilitate rapid implementation of public health measures in accordance with the national plan for Avian Influenza. All states have been urged to provide guidance to healthcare workers and private practitioners concerning the case definitions, signs, and symptoms associated with Avian influenza or bird flu.

Preventive Measures

  • It has also urged states to conduct surveillance for possible human cases and to perform health checks on individuals engaged in culling and poultry handling, with a duration of 10 days.
  • States have been advised to improve public awareness through Information, Education, and Communication initiatives regarding preventive measures. These include minimizing direct interaction with deceased or unwell birds without appropriate hand and respiratory safeguards, and adhering to food safety protocols when consuming animal products.
  • The advisory emphasized the necessity of restricting access to farms and ensuring strict hygiene standards, including the use of disinfectant footbaths and wearing protective clothing. It indicated the necessity of implementing measures to avoid contact between wild birds and domestic poultry.
  • The Centre has also urged states to prepare for preventive measures, including ensuring an ample supply of antiviral drugs (Oseltamivir), personal protective equipment (PPE), and masks. It highlighted the potential requirement for isolation wards and beds in specified hospitals to handle any suspected Avian Influenza cases. As a precautionary measure, both the health and animal husbandry ministries have issued a joint advisory.
  • The affected states comprise Andhra Pradesh (Nellore district), Maharashtra (Nagpur district), Jharkhand (Ranchi district), and Kerala (Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Pathanamthitta districts).
  • States have been directed to guarantee strict compliance with the SARI surveillance guidelines issued by the Health Ministry, under the supervision of senior authorities.
  • States have been advised to enhance biosecurity measures at poultry facilities, zoos, and markets following thorough evaluations. Comprehensive biosecurity assessments have been suggested for all poultry farms.

Source - Mint

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