Bird Flu :: Steps taken to contain bird flu, India

Avian Influenza has been reported in nearly 70 countries across four continents since the present wave commenced in 1997 in Hong Kong. It has exhibited a tendency to re-surface in outbreak countries having recurred in nearly 20 countries out of 25 countries affected in 2007 itself.

It has been reported in countries neighbouring India viz. China, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The North Eastern part of the country is particularly vulnerable because of continuing outbreaks in neighbouring countries.

India reported an outbreak of Avian Influenza in 2006. Control and containment measures were carried out by the Government in the affected areas. The outbreak was successfully controlled. India declared freedom from Avian Influenza in August 2006.

The country has remained under sustained surveillance with more than one lakh seventy thousand (1,70,000) samples having been tested in the country since February 2006 outbreak. No fresh outbreak was reported in the country after April 2006.

Unusual mortality in poultry was reported from a small unit in East Imphal District of Manipur (Village Chingmeirong). 132 birds of the total flock died in a period of about six days from 7th July, 2007 onwards. The samples were forwarded to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal and National Institute of Virology, Pune for testing. Samples are positive for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) (H5) as per report of HSADL, Bhopal and (NIV), Pune as per specified regimen of tests.

The disease appears to be very localized and limited presently to one unit in a State in the North Eastern part of the country. There is no other report of unusual mortality or sickness in the neighbouring area; the districts of East and West Imphal; the entire State of Manipur and any other place in the North-East. This is further supported by surveillance over a ten kilometer radius from the infected site including ducks, feeds and the source of birds of the farm which reported mortality.

Pending test results and as a matter of abundant pre-caution, the remaining birds on the infected unit were killed. The unit was fully dis-infected and sanitized. The situation remained under constant review/assessment. Prophylactic cover was provided by the Ministry of Health to those exposed to infected poultry including family members and veterinary workforce. Initial supplies of personal protective equipment and oseltamivir etc. have been rushed to Manipur. Central team of Animal Husbandry and Public Health was also deputed to Manipur.

In view of the positive results given by two laboratories viz. HSADL, Bhopal and NIV, Pune, India is required to notify the outbreak of HPAI to the global community through the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) (World Organization of Animal Health). Such notification is also required to initiate the control and containment operations for Avian Influenza. Accordingly, outbreak of Avian Influenza has been notified in Chingmeirong, East Imphal District on 25th July, 2007.

Control and containment operations will now be initiated around the infected premises in Chingmeirong Village in Manipur. These comprise of killing of birds; disposal of birds and infected materials; quarantine and restrictions in the operational area; clean-up, dis-infection and sanitization followed by post-operation surveillance in and around Chingmeirong Village. Poultry will be culled in a radius of five kilometers and surveillance will be carried out in a further radius of five to ten kilometers. The country will follow the protocol laid down by OIE to regain freedom from Avian Influenza.

The situation is under control particularly in view of the fact that the outbreak appears to be confined to one small poultry unit.

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