Srinagar: With reports of bird flu in different states of India, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has alerted itself to a potential outbreak. Amid the pandemic, there have been reports of bird deaths in large numbers, including several migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala.
Although, the exact reasons for the deaths are being ascertained, preliminary reports indicate that it is a case of Avian Influenza virus.
“Considering this grave situation, the Ministry requests the States/UT’s to take all possible measures/precautions to prevent the transmission of diseases, if any, in other animals/birds and human beings. Surveillance for mortality of wildlife, particularly in needs to be taken up on priority and States are requested to report such incidences of mortality to this Ministry,” the official order issued by the Government of India said.
The order said there is a large number of migratory birds visit India during this season.
“Given that, the movement of birds to wetlands is also possible and it is requested to keep strict vigil on the wintering habitats of migratory birds, including wetlands, for any mortality or disease outbreak signs,” it reads.
Avian influenza, also called bird flu is highly contagious, having zoonotic potential and can cause huge losses in terms of mortality in birds and trade of poultry products.
Professor Department of Wildlife Sciences SKUAST-K, Dr Khursheed Ahmad said the migratory birds like ducks and geese can carry this infection.
“Affected birds display symptoms such as Tremors, Diarrhoea, Head Tilt and Paralysis. The disease spreads quickly causing Paralysis and Staggering. Also like other influenza viruses, this virus can thrive in the cooler months of the year,” he said.
Joint Director Poultry Kashmir Dr Mushtaq Ahmad Shah told Free Press Kashmir, there is no sign of the disease in the valley so far.
“We have a proper action plan in place. The department is taking all the measures to check the spread of the virus. Our teams are keeping a close watch on any unusual sickness or mortality in poultry as well as wild migratory birds,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), Dr Suhail Naik said it is high time to sound an alert and take optimal preventive measures.
“There is a possibility that the avian flu might jump to humans and then it will be very difficult to break the chain of transmission. The bird flu may come as a double whammy for us as we are already fighting a long drawn battle against covid 19 Pandemic. The unexplained deaths of birds in any locality need to be reported to the concerned Veterinary and Health authorities immediately so that optimal preventive measures are taken,” a statement issued by DAK says.
DAK has advised people to stay alert and recommended that people should maintain good hygienic practices to reduce exposure to the virus.
“People are advised not to eat raw poultry parts and or raw eggs. Though cooking poultry meat thoroughly at temperatures more than 70 degree centigrade will inactivate the virus, it is better to avoid poultry and its products till flu is eliminated in birds,” it reads.