Avian Influenza Current Affairs

India declares itself free from Avian Influenza

India has officially declared itself free from highly contagious Avian Influenza (H5N1) or bird flu and has notified the same to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

It was announced by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers welfare.

This announcement was made as no outbreak of Avian Influenza (H5N1) was reported in the country after the last notified outbreak at Humnabad, Bidar district, Karnataka in June 2016.

Various control measures adopted

  • Stamping out of entire poultry population including destruction of eggs, litter, feed and other infected materials.
  • Restriction on movement of poultry and poultry products from area of outbreak. Cleaning up and disinfection of infected premises and the Post Operation Surveillance Plan (POSP).
  • Surveillance was carried out throughout the country around the areas of the outbreaks since completion of the operation.
  • Post the surveillance has shown no evidence of presence of Avian Influenza.

However, Union Government has emphasized that their need for continued surveillance especially in areas visited by migratory birds and vulnerable areas bordering infected countries.

About Avian influenza (AI)

  • AI commonly called bird flu is an infectious viral disease of birds and is zoonotic disease.
  • It is an infectious viral disease of birds and can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease.
  • AI viruses are divided into 2 groups based on their ability to cause disease in poultry:
  • (i) high pathogenicity: Viruses result in high death rates up to 100% mortality within 48 hours in some poultry species.
  • (ii) Low pathogenicity: Viruses are not generally associated with severe disease but causes outbreaks in poultry.
  • Human Infections: Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans however A(H7N9) and A(H5N1) virus strains have caused serious infections in people.
  • However, infections in humans have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry.
  • Note: There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly cooked food. Controlling the spread of disease in animals is the first step in decreasing risks to humans.

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India challenges WTO panel’s ruling in US poultry case to DSB

India has challenged a World Trade Organisation (WTO) panel’s ruling that challenges country’s ban on United States (US) poultry product imports.

In this regard, India has appealed to the Dispute Settlement Board (DSB) of the WTO.

Background

  • In 2007, India had banned imports of various agriculture products including poultry meat and eggs from the US. They were banned as a precautionary measure to prevent outbreaks of Avian Influenza.
  • In March 2012, US had dragged India to the WTO for banning these products.
  • WTO ruling: WTO panel’s ruling in October 2014 in this regard had said that India’s measures are arbitrarily and unjustifiably discrimination on international trade and constitutes a disguised restriction on it.
  • US Stance: US also had contended that India’s Avian Influenza measures amounted to an import prohibition was not based on the relevant international standard or on a scientific risk assessment.
  • India’s Stance: While, India has claimed that the panel ruling is committed with several legal errors in its interpretation and application of numerous articles of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) agreement.

Why US is focusing on India’s poultry business?

  • US is one of the world’s largest exporters of chicken meat. It is looking India as one of its potential markets poultry exports.
  • While, in past few years India’s broiler meat consumption has increased and has touched to 3.72 million tonnes in 2014 from 3.45 million tonnes in 2013.

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