Centre Asks States To Undertake Preventive Measures As Four States Report Avian Influenza

    Inam Ansari
    June1/ 2024
    Last Updated:

     Report Avian Influenza

    New Delhi: The Centre has asked all states and Union Territories to undertake several preventive measures in the wake of four states reporting cases of the H5N1 virus.
    The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) issued a joint advisory on H5N1 for all states on May 20.
    All states have been advised to orient all healthcare workers and private practitioners on case definitions, signs, and symptoms of Avian influenza or bird flu.
    It has also asked states to be vigilant for any unusual deaths amongst the domestic birds/poultry, and if observed, to share the information immediately with the Department of Animal Husbandry so that public health action can be initiated as per the national action plan for Avian influenza.
    States have been asked to strengthen biosecurity measures in all poultry establishments, zoos, and markets, after conducting a thorough assessment. Comprehensive biosecurity assessments on all poultry farms have been recommended.
    The advisory mentioned that access to farms should be restricted, and stringent hygiene protocols, including the use of disinfectant footbaths and protective clothing, should be enforced. Measures to prevent contact between wild birds and domestic poultry should be implemented, it said.
    States have been asked to enhance Information, Education, and Communication tools among the general public regarding preventive measures such as minimising the handling of dead or sick birds with bare hands and without adequate respiratory protection and following food safety measures while consuming products of animal origin.
    The Centre has also asked states to be prepared for all preventive measures like stockpiling of an adequate number of antiviral drugs (Oseltamivir), PPE, and masks. Isolation wards and beds at dedicated hospitals may be required to handle any suspect cases of Avian Influenza, it said. There is a need for enhanced surveillance (in wet markets, abattoirs, poultry farm workers etc) as well as expanded surveillance (in sewage samples, water bodies, crows etc.) for Avian Influenza in collaboration with NCDC, ICMR and DAHD, the advisory mentioned.
    It has also called for the timely sharing of information. States have been asked to inform DAHD and the Health Ministry as soon as samples are collected for testing.
    States have been asked to ensure strict compliance with the SARI surveillance guidelines of the Health Ministry by all States and its monitoring at the senior level.
    For states where there is an active outbreak of Avian influenza, the advisory has instructed to collect samples from Cullers and Surveillance Workers (considered as 'at-risk' groups) on the fifth and tenth days following sanitization operations for H5N1 testing.
    It has also asked states to conduct surveillance for suspected human cases and providing health check-ups for cullers and poultry workers, with a duration of 10 days.
    The advisory has recommended measures for chemoprophylaxis, management, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be implemented.
    It has asked states to follow SOPs for collecting and transporting samples from suspected cases to designated laboratories.
    A coordinated response involving experts from veterinary services, health departments, wildlife and forest departments, local authorities, and other relevant stakeholders is required in all avian influenza outbreaks, it said. Regular meetings should be conducted to share information, assess the situation, and adjust strategies accordingly, it added. —ANI