NEW DELHI – The authorities in India confirmed on Monday bird flu outbreaks in at least 10 states in the country, amid the implementation of health measures to contain it and prevent it from spreading to humans.
The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying added on Monday New Delhi, western Maharashtra and northern Uttarakhand to the list of Indian states where bird flu has been detected.
With this, 10 of India’s 36 states and union territories have been affected by bird flu.
The unusual death of birds and poultry had already been confirmed in recent weeks in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana in the north, Gujarat and Rajasthan in the west, Madhya Pradesh in the center, and Kerala in the south.
Haryana, the state most affected by the virus with more than 400,000 dead birds, has resorted to culling to contain the spread of the disease, according to a statement by the ministry, which did not specify the number of birds slaughtered so far.
While investigations are underway by epidemiological experts in the affected areas, the authorities have called on states to increase surveillance around water sources, live bird markets, zoos, and poultry farms, in order to avoid any chance of the disease spreading to humans, the ministry said.
Concern over the infection spreading to humans has severely affected poultry farmers with sales having declined considerably and the culling of birds.
The situation has even forced one of the major markets for birds in New Delhi to shut down and a temporary ban on bringing in live birds from other states.
Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Minister Giriraj Singh called for calm among the people and local authorities, reiterating that human infections could be avoided by adopting good hygiene and cooking the food properly.
India, which confirmed the first outbreak of bird flu in 2006, has since suffered several outbreaks of the H5 virus mainly because of migratory birds entering the country during the winter months.