Health & Wellness

What Is Avian Influenza, What It Means For India To Be Free From It?

BP World Bureau | Sep 07 2019 12:06:17 PM

World Organisation for Animal Health has declared India of the virus H5N1 with effect. The Avian Influenza spread by the H5N1 virus and the disease's outbreak was reported from several places in Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand.

Containments measures after the outbreak were reported.

Animal Husbandry Department of the central government informed the state via a letter that the OIE-World Organisation for Animal Health has declared India free of the virus.

Upamanyu Basu, the joint secretary wrote a letter to the state saying that based on the culling, disinfection and cleanup of the mentioned epicentres of the Avian influenza outbreak, no further cases were reported.

Avian Influenza was declared a highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). OIE has notified that that country has been free from the virus effective from September 3rd of this year.

However, India is free only until the next outbreak is reported, as the country was declared free from the illness in 2017.

What is Avian Influenza?

Avian Influenza, commonly known as the bird flu, is carried and spread by the birds and the illness is caused by strains of viruses which adapt to a specific host, similar to swine flu.

Based on pathogenicity, the virus is divided into high pathogenicity (HP) and low pathogenicity (LP). The strain H5N1, found in India is that of a high pathogenicity strain.

It first came in up in China in 1996 following by North America. The first case of bird flu was reported in India in the year 2005.

As per the medical research, the increase in the bird population led to the possibility of the outbreak, notably Pigeons which may contract and succumb to the virus. IT transmits from bird-to-bird and bird to humans. H5N1 was recognised as a global pandemic threat.

Hundreds have died from the virus since its discovery in 1996.

The concerns regarding the bird flu spreading led to isolation and killing of poultry birds like chicken and duck. When the bird flu was reported in India, people were advised not to consume chicken and its led to the rapid decrease of chicken at the market.

The government carried out containment and cleaning operations. Poultry and poultry products were restricted.

Studies claimed apart from the bird population and their movement, human population density itself play a role in the emergence of deadly diseases and the mutation of the influenza strain.

Despite successfully combating the virus, the government is still surveilling the possibility of the emergence of the virus. World Health Organization also collaborated with the government after getting reports regarding the control of the disease.T. Jacob John who was formerly at the department of virology said that the possible emergence might be due to the migratory water birds.