India has been declared free from avian influenza (H5N1) or what is popularly called bird flu. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare declared the same on September 5.
The last time India had notified outbreak of avian influenza (H5N1) on May 9, 2016, at Humnabad in Karnataka’s Bidar district. There has been no further outbreak reported in the country thereafter.
This is a good news for the export market of India as the country exports a lot of poultry products. In 2015-16, India exported 659,304 tonnes of poultry products worth Rs 768.72 crore, mainly to Oman, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Germany and the Maldives.
Extensive measures have been taken to curb the outbreak of bird flu. According to an official statement, the measures included stamping out the entire population, including eggs, feed, litter and other infected material; restriction on movement of poultry and poultry products to and from the area of the outbreak; and disinfection and cleaning up of infected premises.
Surveillance was carried throughout the country. No states have shown evidence of the presence of avian influenza. This has been notified to the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).
However, the Centre has asked states to continue surveillance especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds.
Poultry is one of the fastest growing segments of the agricultural sector in India. While the production of agricultural crops has been rising at a rate of 1.5 to two per cent per annum, that of eggs and broilers has been rising at 8-10 percent. India is now the world’s fifth largest egg producer and the 18th largest producer of broilers.
The Maximum number of egg production takes place in Tamil Nadu, whereas Hyderabad has the maximum number of poultry farms and hatcheries.
What is Bird Flu?
Avian Influenza or bird flu is influenza caused by the viruses adapted to birds. it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host. The most well-known strain is the H5N1.