With the country already suffering from the covid-19 pandemic, another virus, popularly known as bird flu has spread havoc across several states of India. Avian influenza has led to the death of thousands of birds including crows and migratory species, causing substantial losses to the poultry industry. While the government has labelled the disease as Zoonotic i.e. capable of being transmitted from non-human to human, no cases of infections in humans have been reported as of yet.

The latest cases of bird flu have emerged in Delhi and Maharashtra who have reported the death of over 100 crows and 8000 birds respectively in the last two days. The samples sent by Uttarakhand to ICAR- NISHAD have also tested positive for avian influenza making it the 10th state to contract the flu. Other states to have reported the flu include Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Haryana.

The authorities in respective states have been on a high alert and have started taking measures to prevent the further spread of the virus. In Delhi, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has imposed a restriction on the import of live birds and processed chicken into the national capital. He has further declared a shutdown of the Ghazipur poultry market for the next ten days. Writing to Delhi CM over the closure, the Union Animal Husbandry & Dairying Minister, Giriraj Singh said, “Ministry had issued an advisory for all states on Oct 22, 2019” for bird flu. “Had the advice been paid heed to, there would’ve been no need to close Ghazipur Mandi.”

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An emergency meeting to review the situation of bird flu has been called by both Maharashtra’s CM Uddhav Thackeray and Delhi Municipal Corporation. Further, a meeting between the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and senior officials of the Ministry of Animal Husbandry will take place at 3 pm today to discuss the availability of animal vaccines given the mounting deaths of birds across the country.

“States, including Delhi, should not shut mandis or restrict sale of poultry products”, said Animal Husbandry Minister, Giriraj Singh. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also confirmed bird flu in various states and said, “Poultry farms, zoos, water bodies have to be constantly monitored to control the spread of Bird Flu”.

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