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Opinion

The center issues an advisory to control the spread of bird flu – here’s all you need to know

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Authorities issued warnings to contain the spread of avian influenza, or bird flu, on Wednesday and asked all states to keep a close watch for any unusual bird deaths, as the Center confirmed that the outbreak has been reported in at least four states. Here’s what we know about the outbreak:

– Thousands of birds have died in Kerala (mainly poultry), Himachal Pradesh (migratory birds) and Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh (crows) since the outbreak began in late December.

– Migratory birds are believed to be the source of the outbreak.

– The government has set up a control room in New Delhi to monitor the situation even though no human cases have been reported so far.

– Around 400,000 chickens have died in the Panchkula district of Haryana in the last 20 days.

– Similarly, three crows are suspected of having died from the disease in Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand. Your test reports were awaited.

– Jharkhand and Gujarat have also sounded an alert.

– The Union Ministry of Health has deployed special teams in Panchkula, in addition to the two epicenters in Kerala.

– Experts said that the current outbreak is caused by the H5N8 strain, although there are other strains circulating globally. A number of outbreaks have been reported in Europe in recent weeks, and wild birds are suspected of spreading the disease.

– Both H5N1 (another strain of avian influenza) and H5N8 have high pathogenicity (the ability of a pathogen to cause disease), but they do not infect humans very much.

– Previous outbreaks among farmed birds have required extensive slaughter.

– The current outbreak started just a few months after India declared the country free of the disease on September 30. India reported the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006.

– The government has identified 12 disease epicenters: Baran, Kota and Jhalawar regions in Rajasthan; Mandsaur, Indore, Malwa areas in Madhya Pradesh; Kangra in Himachal Pradesh; and Kottayam and Alappuzha from Kerala (four epicenters).

– More than 69,000 birds, including ducks and chickens, were slaughtered in Alappuzha and Kottayam, Kerala, on Wednesday.

– Kerala has declared bird flu a state disaster and has deployed rapid response teams for screening and surveillance efforts.

– Madhya Pradesh has banned the transport of poultry from other states as a measure to control the spread of bird flu.

– Himachal Pradesh banned the sale and export of poultry and fish products in the four subdivisions of Dehra, Fatehpur, Jawali and Indora.

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