Bird flu spreads across India, culls begin

Sunrita Sen
·1-min read

An outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu is rapidly spreading across India, with seven states confirming cases and others awaiting test results as they put containment measures in place, officials say.

The latest state to confirm cases is Uttar Pradesh, where the zoo in Kanpur city has been shut down after the death of four jungle fowls and two parrots.

Test reports received late Saturday confirmed they were positive for the virus, Kanpur district's chief veterinary officer RP Mishra said.

"We are in the process of culling all birds present in all the enclosures and the zoo has been declared a containment zone. It is unfortunate but we are following the protocol," Mishra said on Sunday.

Samples from dead crows from four other Uttar Pradesh districts have been sent to a laboratory in the central Indian city of Bhopal for testing.

Cases of bird flu have also been confirmed by Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, according to the federal government.

Dead birds include poultry fowl, crows, pigeons, peacocks and migratory birds.

Bird flu affects mainly poultry and wild birds, but can infect humans who have close contact with sick birds.

Poultry chickens are being culled in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh and ducks in Kerala. Markets and shops selling poultry have been shut for a week in seven Madhya Pradesh cities, a government spokesperson said.

The sale of meat has been banned in a 10-kilometre radius of the zoo and a close watch is being kept on all poultry farms and markets in the district.

Samples from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala have tested positive for the H5N8 strain of the virus, while samples from Himachal Pradesh have shown the presence of H5N1.