Centre forms high-level panel to monitor bird flu situation

October 26, 2016 07:18 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 06:26 am IST - New Delhi

Business as usual at Ghazipur Murga Mandi despite bird flu alert, in New Delhi on October 22, 2016. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Business as usual at Ghazipur Murga Mandi despite bird flu alert, in New Delhi on October 22, 2016. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

In the wake of bird flu scare in Delhi and other parts, the Centre on Wednesday set up a high-level committee to monitor the situation and help State governments take steps to contain the disease.

A control room (with telephone numbers 011-23384190 and 09448324121) has been set up in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Union Agriculture Ministry to provide advice and help round the clock.

> Also read: Bird flu and what we must do

As per available reports from other States, the disease incidence is in control, the Ministry said and noted that full support is being provided to the Delhi government in this regard.

Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds. Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans but some of them can cause serious infections in people.

Birds in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have tested positive for avian influenza AH5N8, which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is considered less risky of being transmitted to humans. But the government is taking no chances.

“The Centre has constituted a committee headed by Joint Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries (DADF) to maintain constant vigil on the situation arising out of avian influenza (H5N8),” the Union Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

Besides monitoring the situation, the committee will assist the State governments in taking steps to contain the spread of avian influenza, it said.

The committee will have representatives from Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Department of Agriculture Research and Extension (DARE) and the Delhi government, it added.

That apart, the Ministry has established a control room with telephone numbers — 011-23384190 and 09448324121.

Munialappa, Joint Commissioner in the Animal Husbandry Department, has been named the nodal officer and will be available to provide advice and help round the clock.

National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Indian Veterinary Research Institute and four regional laboratories have been directed to give assistance to the State governments and get samples tested in an emergency response manner, the statement said.

On bird flu situation in Delhi, the Centre said it is providing full support to the State government to contain and control the disease incidence. Daily meetings are being held to advise the State governments in case of emergency.

No further test results are presently required by Delhi government to continue with its bio-security measures for implementing the National Action Plan for Control and Containment of the Avian Influenza, 2015 guidelines, it added.

The Centre further said that an advisory has already been issued to State governments asking them to minimise bird-human interface to prevent an outbreak of bird flu.

The States have been asked to maintain cleanliness in zoological parks housing wild birds, water bodies as well as meat/poultry market areas where meat is sold.

“Necessary precautions for human beings coming in contact with poultry have also been reinforced although as per WHO observations, the transmission of H5N8 virus is very low,” the government said.

The States have been directed to keep a close watch on bird sanctuaries and areas with lakes.

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