The outbreak of bird flu in India provides links to environmental, animal and human health-Technology News,

Sahana Gauche

When bird flu struck India from late 2020 to early 2021, the state scrambled to strengthen vigilance and measures to control the spread of the disease. The 2020/2021 outbreak, characterized by significant wildlife involvement and mortality, actively monitors animal disease in the environment, protects unprotected wetland habitats and controls disease spread. Interfaces that highlight the need to address knowledge gaps like wild waterfowl and poultry.

Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects both poultry and wild birds. AI is occurring all over the world, with more strains prevailing in certain parts of the world than in other parts of the world. according to For the World Organization for Animal Health, wild waterfowl such as geese, geese and ducks are natural reservoirs for influenza A virus. AI viruses are roughly classified into low-pathogenic AI (LPAI) viruses and high-pathogenic AI (HPAI) viruses based on their pathogenicity.

The latest outbreaks of bird flu in poultry and wild birds 14 Indian State / Union region from Jammu and Kashmir in the north to Kerala in the south. Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab and Kerala were particularly severely affected.Recent outbreaks include the highly pathogenic virus strain H5N1 According to H5N8, To the Government of India.

“Avian influenza and other zoonotic diseases are in the environment, and when human activity invades the natural habitats and environments used by wild species, the risk of infection increases. Potential disease changes / We have reached a stage where we need to actively monitor wild bird and animal diseases in the environment to act as an early warning system for arrival, “said Taej Mundkur, International Waterfowl Census Coordinator and Wetland International Senior Technical Officer. Says. (Netherlands), said Monga Bay-India..

“Such surveillance programs should be developed by organizing passive and active surveillance in networks of locations across the country, which has led to the arrival of new pathogens or new strains of known pathogens. Sometimes better preparation and response is possible, “says Mander, who aims to improve human, agricultural, wildlife / environmental health in the broadest sense of the One Health framework. He added that he is aware of this network of whole interconnects and interactions.

Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and Convention on Migratory Species and Scientific Issues Power Mundkur adds that research on bird flu and migratory birds provides valuable international guidance on the response / behavior of bird flu at the interface between wild and wetlands. They guarantee that the killing of wild birds, spraying of toxic products, or adverse effects on wetland habitats are not considered as disease control measures, guidance on disease control measures, Ramsar Convention wetlands and all other protection and It is relevant to both non-protected wetlands and includes improved biosecurity of wetlands. point.

India is emerging as Global hotspot In the case of HPAI H5N1, it provides an important wintering habitat for many migratory waterfowl species and a year-round habitat for some resident waterfowl species.The country is in heart The Central Asian Flyway (CAF) spans 30 countries and covers 279 populations of 182 dependent migratory waterfowl. Wetlands Biologists were first warned in December 2020 of the massive death of long-distance migratory birds such as bar-headed geese along the flyways, including the Ramsar Convention Wetland Pondam Wetland (Lake Pong Wildlife Sanctuary).

Demoiselle crane, one of the many migratory birds that fly to India, was found in the Tarchapa Sanctuary, Rajasthan.Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Following reports of more than 2000 bird deaths on Lake Pong, Himachal Pradesh peacock Death in Maharashtra, death in wrapping near Karodam in Junagadh district in Gujarat, jungle crow in Uttarakhand. After the outbreak of bird flu was confirmed, a total of 4,49,271 poultry had been culled by February 12, 2021 in accordance with the National Action Plan for Prevention, Control and Containment of Bird Flu. The poultry sector in India is valued at around rupees. 80,000 chlores And it employs more than 100,000 rupees of farmers.

Dealing with knowledge gaps

The knowledge gap remains in the nature of the interface between wild waterfowl and poultry and the sharing of diverse wetland habitats among these birds.

Evolutionary ecologist Farah Ishtiaq emphasized the need for well-designed research to screen poultry and poultry for low-pathogenic viruses. “We lack such data,” Ishtiaq told Mongabay-India. “High species diversity and low water temperatures are known to increase virus survival in certain parts of the world. However, in the Indian situation, poultry are a major factor in circulating the virus throughout the year. It plays a role, and as a result, outbreaks have been reported during off-season times, “added Ishtiak, a senior scientist at the Tata Genetics Society. She emphasized a rapid test to determine the cause of death of wild birds. “The virus is very sensitive to temperature, and RNA degrades very quickly with increasing temperature. Cases have been reported to identify the cause and strain of the virus, so screen such samples in real time. We need a simplified system for this, “says Ishtiaq.

According to landscape epidemiologist Michael Walsh 2020 research A systematic study of the extent of the interface between wild waterfowl and poultry and its impact on the risk of HPAI H5N1 outbreaks in India provides evidence of interaction between poultry and wild waterfowl with respect to H5N1 outbreaks. there was.

“Our results show that the risk of development increases as poultry density increases. This is consistent with previous studies, but we have shown (and investigated in previous studies). What is not) is that, given the landscape in which these poultry are bred, the poultry was actually at the highest risk of outbreak among the low-density poultry breeding in the major wild waterfowl habitats. Conversely, high-density poultry breeding was at increased risk only in areas where poultry were least likely to come into contact with wild waterfowl, “Walsh of the University of Sydney told Mongabay, India.

The study also found that the incidence of H5N1 was high, especially in close proximity to lakes, rivers, and coastal wetlands. These findings provide specific points in the landscape that could be good targets for disrupting the circulation of the avian influenza virus, for example by blocking mixed use of surface water by poultry and wild waterfowl. I will.

The veterinarian will check the chicken for symptoms of bird flu.Image: Science

These viruses occur naturally in wild waterfowl around the world and can infect poultry and other bird and animal species. The avian influenza virus usually does not infect humans.Image Credit: Science Magazine

The focus should be on monitoring the location of multiple waterfowl of regional, national, and international importance, but monitoring is complicated by the nature of poultry-wild birds-.Wetlands interface. “The story is not simple. Poultry in infected areas interact with wild birds, and some of these birds can be resident or migratory birds. The infection can be transmitted because the environment can be infected. These interactions occur in some areas, ”explains Mundkur.

“Because the poultry itself does not fly around, the virus can be carried by poultry / poultry products, pet bird trade, and inter-farm and farm-to-wetland and market fomites. Once done, it can infect migratory birds and poultry, from which the virus can move to other areas due to local movements of these birds, after which it is re-introduced to poultry or resident birds. In addition, the virus can be picked up by predatory birds and poultry if they eat dead or dying infected wild birds and poultry. “

He observed that dealing with viruses has many different characteristics, and understanding the local situation is especially important.

Farah Ishtiaq adds that unprotected wetlands are under constant pressure from urbanization and pollution. With habitat loss and poultry growth, wild and poultry buffers reduced and increased viral interactions and exchanges – not only the spillover effect, but perhaps the spillover effect from poultry.

Kamalsaini, an assistant zoologist for zoological research at the Indian Highlands Center in Solan, Himachal Pradesh, was part of the team that conducted the first survey of the Pondam Wetlands in January following reports of migratory bird mass deaths. did. He observed dead bar-headed geese, common pochards, pintails, black stilts, lesser sand plovers, mallard ducks, spot-billed ducks, pochards, common pochards, and lapwings, among others, in Pong.

“We saw bar-headed geese approaching the land from the water, falling, twisting for a few minutes, and dying. This was before the bird flu was confirmed. After the bird died, the carcass was attacked by predators such as stray dogs, black kites, and tawny eagle. They may carry the virus to distant wildlife and domesticated animals. I don’t know, “Saini told Mongabay-India. Therefore, burying the carcasses before these predators attack the carcasses remains a challenge for the department. “In addition, bar-headed geese that cannot reach the embankment and die on the water can pose another threat to humans through the consumption of affected fish,” he said.

Saini tells them that thousands of winter migratory birds, such as bar-headed geese, pit stop in Pondam and other wetlands during their journey from Central Asia, Tibet, Russia, Siberia and Mongolia, and their habitat quality changes. Encourage them to look for another habitat.

Bar-headed goose (Answer Indicus) Is a long-distance immigrant to the Indian subcontinent, the main population of which breeds in China. Breeding populations are low in Ladakh, Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan.The movement of the bar-headed goose report From many protected and unprotected wetlands in Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Kerala and Maharashtra.

“This year, the outages on Lake Sukhna in Chandigarh have decreased, but they are more common in small ponds in Haryana, which means it is important to protect habitat quality even in these small bodies of water.” Saini said.

Bangor University researchers work with a large international team of researchers to report In 2011, bar-headed geese can fly up to 6,000 m in just eight hours while passing through the Himalayas. Similar strenuous climbs can kill humans without long-term acclimatization. “When birds arrive here, they are exposed to fatigue after a long flight and are susceptible to infection,” said Bivash Pandav, director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), suspecting that poultry and piggery are the most susceptible to infection. I add. Virus.

“Most of these wetlands where migratory birds are found are unprotected, so it is imperative to involve the community in wetland management,” Pandab said. Monga Bay-India..

Pandav repeats regular health monitoring and sampling of wild birds in selected wetland locations, disease Prevalence and strain. “Otherwise, we try to do all this when death occurs. At BNHS, we catch and ring birds in different parts of the country. But we have a disease monitoring component for me. We are looking for financial support for the analysis of our samples, which we are trying to incorporate into our ringing program, “Pandav added.

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Mongabay-India is a news service for environmental science and protection. This article has been republished under a Creative Commons license.

The outbreak of bird flu in India provides links to environmental, animal and human health-Technology News,

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