Avian influenza – situation in India
21 February 2006
On 18 February, agricultural authorities in India confirmed the country’s first outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza in poultry. The disease was detected at several commercial farms in the Navapur sub-district in the western state of Maharashtra.
Prior to that date, large numbers of poultry deaths, at more than 50 farms in the area, had been noted, but the cause was initially diagnosed as Newcastle disease. The outbreak is now thought to have begun on 27 January. Agricultural authorities have reported that some backyard farms are also affected.
Mass culling of bird at affected farms continued today.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has despatched rapid response teams to Navapur and neighbouring areas. House-to-house searches for cases of influenza-like illness are being conducted.
The government has equipped a Navapur hospital for the management, in isolation, of possible human cases. WHO was informed today that 12 patients with fever and respiratory illness in Navapur sub-district have been hospitalized for observation as a precautionary measure. An additional 3 patients have been hospitalized, also for observation, in the Vaira sub-district of the adjacent Gujarat state.
Samples from these patients and their close contacts are being tested at the country’s National Institute of Virology. Results are expected later this week.