News By/Courtesy: Aakash Raj | 11 Jan 2021 16:23pm IST


  • bird flu outbreak
  • history and current situation
  • culling operations

With the novel coronavirus being rampant, fear of a new virus has spread, that triggers bird flu. Normally, this infection would not spread from birds to humans, but earlier outbreaks led the poultry industry to suffer major losses. Many states have recorded bird deaths, but mainly non-domesticated ones. Upon confirmation of bird flu (avian influenza) in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra sounded a high warning. Several states have reported bird deaths along with the death of crows and migratory birds, which has triggered concerns and states are now struggling to have samples screened for the virus. There is the fear of a fresh blow to the poultry industry as anxiety grows, reports show individuals giving up chicken and eggs, and rates are starting to decline. Bird or avian influenza is a term used to characterize a viral illness that is documented mainly in birds but can affect humans and other animals. H5N1 is the most prevalent strain of the virus that causes acute respiratory disease in birds. The virus was first recorded in 1996 in China in the gaggle of geese. Outbreaks have been recorded regularly around the globe since then. In 2006, India announced the existence of the virus in Nandurbar, Maharashtra, which resulted in large-scale poultry bird culling. The virus H5N1 may leap from the infected bird to infect species and humans. The first case of human H5N1 infection was identified in Hong Kong in 1997 when an infection from infected chickens was captured by a poultry farm worker. The biggest cause of concern regarding the outbreak of bird flu is the high death rate of humans of almost 60%. Human infections have only been recorded among individuals who have handled the infected avian or their carcasses. India announced 225 epicenters of bird flu infection between 2006 and December 31, 2018, leading to the killing of 83.49 lakh birds, with Rs 26.37 crore in compensation being paid to farmers. Surprisingly, Maharashtra being the first state to register the infection has not witnessed any outbreaks since 2006. As stated by Dr. A.S. Ranade, the Dean of Bombay Veterinary College, 2021 has seen most bird flu infections registered to date, present either in wild birds, crows, or migratory birds. Since 2006, bio-safety zones around farms have been established by the poultry industry, which has prohibited commercially reared birds from coming into contact with any foreign feed or birds, he added. Since the second half of the 20th century, culling operations have been carried out in India and other countries with the introduction of massive commercial poultry farms where a viral disease can spread rapidly. Frequent outbreaks of avian influenza around the world and the diversification of the increasingly mutating virus into a wide number of strains were also seen during this time. Indians consume about 30 crore poultry birds and 900 crore eggs a month. The poultry industry suffered a body blow at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic after unsubstantiated reports associated the transmission of the disease with chicken and egg consumption. The industry experienced losses of about $1 billion over a two-month span, as people held away from eggs and poultry meat. Though the industry has bounced back to its initial position, however, the production still remains low.


This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 12 Jan 2021 10:49am IST

Tags : #AvinFlu #SayNoToCulling

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