India had reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian influenza at various epicenters in Delhi, Gwalior (MP), Rajpura (Punjab), Hissar (Haryana), Bellary (Karnataka), Allappuzha and Kottayam (Kerala), Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Daman (Daman) and Khordha and Angul (Odisha during October, 2016 to February, 2017.
- All the outbreaks of Avian Influenza (HPAI) mentioned above were notified to OIE and the control and containment operations were carried out as per the Action Plan on Preparedness, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza.
- Surveillance was carried out throughout the country and around the areas of the outbreaks since completion of the operation (including culling, disinfection and clean-up) and surveillance in the states showed no evidence of presence of Avian Influenza Virus.
- In view of the above, India has declared itself free from Avian Influenza (H5N8 and H5N1) from 6thJune, 2017 and notified the same to OIE.
About Avian Influenza
Avian influenza refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species. Avian flu viruses do not normally infect humans. However, sporadic human infections with avian flu viruses have occurred.
- The most widely quoted date for the beginning of recorded history of avian influenza (initially known as fowl plague) was in 1878 when it was differentiated from other diseases that caused high mortality rates in birds. Fowl plague, however, also included Newcastle disease until as recently as the 1950s. Between 1959 and 1995, there were 15 recorded occasions of the emergence of HPAI viruses in poultry, but losses were minimal. Between 1996 and 2008 however, HPAI outbreaks in poultry have occurred at least 11 times and 4 of these outbreaks have involved millions of birds.
- In the 1990s, the world’s poultry population grew 76% in developing countries and 23% in developed countries, contributing to the increased prevalence of avian influenza.Before the 1990s, HPAI caused high mortality in poultry, but infections were sporadic and contained. Outbreaks have become more common due to the high density and frequent movement of flocks from intensive poultry production.
- Influenza A/H5N1 was first isolated from a goose in China in 1996. Human infections were first reported in 1997 in Hong Kong. Since 2003, more than 700 human cases of Asian HPAI H5N1 have been reported to the WHO, primarily from 15 countries in Asia, Africa, the Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East, though over 60 countries have been affected.