Avian Influenza

“Life of the birds are different but their only aim is to back home safe”

— Vicky Vignesh

In the Year 2006, India experienced the first Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1outbreak in Maharashtra and Gujarat, followed by a second outbreak in Madhya Pradesh. A total of 10.44 Lakh birds were culled during control and containment operations undertaken. This disease was spread from one person who was infected with the H5N1 virus to another person. The year 2021, Due to the outbreak of this H5N1, India starts mass bird slaughter in response. 

What is Avian Influenza (H5N1)?

Influenza virus strains that mainly affect birds, but can also infect humans. H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds. This form of flu is most commonly triggered by contact with sick birds. It may even be moved from person to person. Human cases of avian influenza H5N1 rarely occur, although it is impossible to spread the virus from person to person. When people are sick, the death rate is about 60% .(WHO, 2012)

Centre issues advisory to contain the spread of this virus, States like Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh were the most affected states, with around 12 epicentres. The Union of Fisheries and Animal Husbandry have asked other states to keep track of the birds’ unusual mortality. On a note to that, Southern states like Kerala declares Bird Flu as a state disaster following the Center of the outbreak of H5N8 subset of Influenza A in two districts Kottayam and Alappuzha. Although H5N8 is considered one of the less pathogenic subtypes for humans, it is beginning to become more pathogenic.

Among measures suggested to affected states include 

  1. Disinfection of affected areas.
  2. Proper handling of dead birds/carcasses.
  3. Strengthening the biosecurity of poultry farms.
  4. Prompt selection and submission of samples for clarification and further monitoring.
  5. Intensification of the surveillance strategy.
  6. General recommendations for the prevention of disease transmission from affected birds to poultry and humans.

When I was in school, my geography teacher taught me that our surroundings consist of Flora and Fauna. Back then, the only thing we know was we should respect the life of every living organism. This outbreak clearly shows us, to stop something we need to take some harsh decisions. Maybe culling up the birds was not the only option, but it is necessary to do that if we reason. Like every story has some ending, this outbreak will surely be over on cost of these birds’ lives. People often talk about “ANIMAL LIVES MATTER“, but should not it be “EVERY LIFE MATTER.” 

Think About It.

Reference: Image 1.

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