An outbreak of the highly pathogenic bird flu strain H5N8, which ripped through Asia, Europe and the Middle East in the last 12 months, has been reported in India, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
The Paris-based organisation said the outbreak was confirmed by a report it had received from Devendra Chaudhry, secretary for the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, a branch of India’s Ministry of Agriculture.
In total, 942 birds were culled. The report did not specify whether the avian animals were commercial poultry or wild birds.
A source of the outbreak remains inconclusive at this stage, according to the OIE.
Control measures have been set up by the Indian government: movement restrictions inside the country have been established; surveillance outside the contamination zone is underway; farms within the containment zone are being checked for traces of the bird flu strain; and officials are disposing of carcases, by-products and avian waste in Karnataka.
The outbreak is a reoccurrence of the H5N8 bird flu strain. India suffered multiple outbreaks of the strain in 2017 and 2016. And as the winter months approach, the number of bird flu outbreaks has begun to increase globally too.
Saudi Arabia’s capital city, Riyadh, has already reported four cases of the bird flu strain H5N8. Iraq was forced to cull 43,000 chickens, following outbreaks of the same avian influenza strain. And, last week, the Russian military was called in to Kostroma Oblast to deal with the aftermath of largest H5N8 bird flu outbreak in the region, which saw 600,000 chickens culled.