Via the Times of India this morning, we’ve a report that H5N1 has been confirmed as the cause of numerous poultry deaths in Telangana, very near Hyderabad, and that 200,000 birds are to be culled. First the report, then I’ll return with a bit more.
Siddharth Tadepalli,TNN | Apr 14, 2015, 02.38 PM IST
In wake of the outbreak, the government swung into action and initiated a process to cull about 2 lakh birds within a 10 kilometre radius and also ban sale of poultry and eggs in Hayathnagar, the main town in the district and issued an advisory to Andhra Pradesh as well.
"Yes we confirm it as the deadly H5N1 virus and we have advised the animal husbandry department in Telangana and the government to take all appropriate measures," DD Kulkarni, joint director , High-Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal, told TOI from Bhopal.
A month ago (see Watching India (Again) . . . .) we looked at reported H5N1 outbreaks in a town called Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, where poultry reportedly began dying en masse two weeks earlier, and according to local reports animals (dogs and crows) which consumed dead poultry also died.
Last fall we also saw outbreaks of H5N1 in India’s southern Kerala state and northern Chandigarh's Sukhna Lake region. Unlike Egypt, China, and many other Southeast Asian countries which have dealt extensively with H5N1, India has never reported a human infection.
Whether this is due to the clade of the virus circulating in India, the use of antivirals by cullers, less-than-comprehensive surveillance/testing & and reporting, or some other factor is unknown.
While H5N1 remains difficult for humans to catch, and even more difficult to spread to others, the concern is that after several years during which the H5N1 threat appeared to be slowly waning, it is back this year with a vengeance.
And this time it has an entourage of promiscuous and unpredictable HPAI friends like H5N8, H5N2, and H5N6.
So we watch outbreaks carefully for any signs that the virus is changing its behavior.