Avian flu outbreak triggers alert in Telangana

The Telangana government on Tuesday has set out to cull as many as 1.45 lakh poultry birds after samples tested at a farm on the city’s outskirts identified H5N1 Avian Influenza outbreak.

The site of infection is Srinivas Reddy Poultry Farm’s unit III at Thoroor village of Hayathnagar mandal in Ranga Reddy district. Animal husbandry authorities got word of infection from the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal on Monday, which confirmed ‘positive strong’ infection in all 11 samples within 24 hours of receiving them. On Tuesday, nearly 300 people were deployed to cull birds within one kilometre of infection site.

Y. Thirupathaiah, additional director for Animal Husbandry in Telangana, said that surrounding districts and States too have been alerted about the outbreak. Though the culling exercise began Tuesday, the government is in the process of acquiring adequate gear including protective clothing as such a massive culling exercise was never undertaken either in Telangana or AP.

When asked how the birds could have got infected, Dr. Thirupathaiah said they would have to investigate feed, eggs from nearby areas among other things, to identify source of infection.

While Animal Husbandry officials offered “no theories”, in-charge joint director of HSADL D.D Kulkarni said: “Outbreaks in the recent past have been attributed to migratory birds which are not themselves affected. They migrate from as far up as Siberia and shed the virus elsewhere,” he said, adding that avian infections last year were reported from Karnataka and in Kerala also. He said the virus found in Hyderabad has to be analysed further before commenting on similarities between various outbreaks.

Poultry industry faulted

Dr. Kulkarni faulted the poultry industry on various counts for not checking the outbreaks. “The industry does not report incidents of infection efficiently. Contrary to Indian government’s dictum to not vaccinate birds against avian flu, poultry farmers do it. Vaccination forces the virus to change and threaten both birds and humans,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 11:22:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/avian-flu-outbreak-triggers-alert-in-telangana/article7105463.ece

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