Reports of avian flu (likely H5N1) in and around India continue this winter, with the far Northeastern state of Manipur reporting an outbreak in poultry that according to one source (see Bird flu in Manipur :: Govt takes action; Cullings to start from today) began roughly two weeks ago, and that has just now been confirmed by laboratory analysis.
IANS | Imphal
April 20, 2015 Last Updated at 16:12 IST
Bird flu or avian influenza has resurfaced in northeastern state of Manipur and the culling of poultry fowl began on Monday, official said.
Manipur Chief Secretary P.C. Lawmkunga told reporters: "Samples of sick poultry birds from the ICAR (Indian Council of Agriculture Research) poultry unit at Lamphelpat were found to contain H5 strain of avian influenza virus."
He said the Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases has confirmed the outbreak of Avian Influenza at the poultry unit of ICAR.
"Culling of birds at the ICAR farm started today (Monday)," said Lawmkunga, adding that the culling of poultry birds at the farm would continue for the next few days.
Like many other regions of the world, after several relatively quiet years, we are seeing a resurgence of H5N1 activity in and around the Indian Sub-continent. Last week, we saw the FAO: Bhutan Reports H5N1 In Domestic Birds and H5N1 In Telangana Poultry, while prior to that we saw reported H5N1 outbreaks in a town called Amethi in Uttar Pradesh (see Watching India (Again) . . . .) .
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.
After several years during which the H5N1 threat appeared to be slowly waning, highly pathogenic bird flu appears to have renewed vigor And joining it this time are a plethora of other HPAI H5 viruses – like H5N2, H5N8, H5N6 – that are spreading today much like H5N1 did a decade ago.
While H5N1 and its cronies have never managed to figure out how to spread efficiently in humans, they are constantly reassorting and re-inventing themselves. And so we watch outbreaks like these - all around the world - for any signs that these viruses are changing.