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India confirms new bird flu virus subtype H5N8

21 Oct 2016

Indian ministry of agricultures' Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (ADF) have confirmed that a new bird flu virus subtype H5N8.

New Delhi: Indian ministry of agricultures' Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries  (ADF) have confirmed that a new bird flu virus subtype H5N8.

The department said that the samples of wild birds died was collected from the National Zoological Park (NZP), New Delhi have tested positive for H5 Avian influenza virus.

The test was carried out by National Institute for High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal and it has informed about the results.

These samples were earlier tested positive for Influenza A virus at Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NRDDL), Jalandhar.

Taking the issue seriously, ADF has issued the necessary guidelines to the state government and the zoo authorities on control and containment of the infection and also asked zoo authority to send the report to the department.

On 21-10-2016, NIHSAD informed that the samples were also received from Gandhi Zoological Park, Gwalior which have tested positive for H5N8 AIV.

H5N8 has been reported from 11 countries during 2015 and four countries (including India) during 2016.

The instructions have been issued to the Delhi Animal Husbandry Director.

Indian Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has also been requested to issue advisories to all the wildlife/ bird sanctuaries in the country to be on alert and take necessary actions for prevention of the disease.

However, as per OIE, the avian Influenza disease in wild/ migratory birds does not affect the status of the country; hence there are no trade implications.

Till now, no human infections with H5N8 has been established anywhere in the world. However, necessary precautions are to be undertaken while handling sick/ dead birds and contaminated material during control and containment operations.

Chain of H5N8 case

Between 14 to 17th October, there was mortality of nine birds: 5 Rosy pelican, 3 ducks and one Painted Stork.

On October 18, 2016, NZP informed that the mortality was among the wild birds and not the captive birds. The mortality started on October 14, 2016.

On October 19, 2016, NIHSAD has confirmed that the virus subtype H5N8 infection in wild birds which is a new subtype being reported for the first time in the country.

This Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has requested NIHSAD, Bhopal and the NRDDL to investigate the outbreak thoroughly to determine the source of infection, so that the zoo authorities across the country can implement suitable strategy to prevent the ingress of the disease to captive birds. The same is under progress.

The Director, AH, Delhi visited zoo on October 18, 2016 and deputed his team for carrying out action/ surveillance at the zoo.

On October 19, 2016, Joint Commissioner (LH) and Assistant Commissioner from the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries visited the NZP and had a discussion with Director, NZP and also participated in the meeting along with the officials of NCDC, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Delhi Department of Health etc. 

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