India has begun killing tens of thousands of poultry birds after wild geese, crows, and ducks across the country have been tested +ve for bird flu.
Officials began detecting the H5N8 virus last week following the discovery of herds of birds in various provinces across the country.
The provincial government has issued a “high-level warning”, urging all the states to take “urgent measures” to curb the spread.
Although many strains are a low risk for humans, humans are advised not to touch dead or apparently sick birds.
The Measures Being Taken
The warning comes as India continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic. While the number of cases is declining, the country is also preparing to launch a massive vaccination program to vaccinate hundreds of millions in the next few months.
So states have been quick to act on reports of bird flu, announcing culling of poultry and other measures.
Poultry shops have also been closed in some districts and the sale of eggs has been suspended.
However, the virus has also infected other species of birds.
In the northern province of Himachal Pradesh, about 2,400 migratory birds – mostly the bar-headed geese entering from Siberia and Mongolia – have been found dead near Pong Dam, veterinarian Vikram Singh told BBC Hindi.
“A warning has been issued within 10km (six miles) of the dam. There are no signs of bird flu found in poultry at the moment as there is no poultry farm in the area,” he added.
In the southern state of Kerala, officials said 12,000 ducks had died, and had announced plans to kill more than 36,000 birds by government orders.
In the central region of Madhya Pradesh, hundreds of crows have reportedly died in the past ten days. Recently, there have also been reports of herons and pigeons.
In the town of Indore, where 50 dead creatures were found, officials said they were re-examining nearby residents for symptoms such as colds, coughs, and flu.
Officials told BBC Hindi that the entire state was vigilant and a control room had been set up to deal with the situation.
While the states north of Haryana has reported the deaths of thousands of poultry birds, it is unclear if they have been diagnosed with the flu yet.
Gujarat in the west and Rajasthan in the north are two other states that are on high alert after bird flu has been detected in dead crows and other wild birds.