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Control and Containment Operations to Prevent H5N8 Virus

The National Institute for High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal informed on 17th October 2016 that samples of wild birds died in National Zoological Park (NZP), New Delhi received by them have tested positive for H5 Avian influenza virus.

These samples were earlier tested positive for Influenza A virus at Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NRDDL), Jalandhar. Immediately, the advisory was issued to the Director, Animal Husbandry, Delhi Administration and the Director, NZP and were requested to send the report to the Department.

On 18-10-2016, the NZP informed that the mortality was among the wild birds and not the captive birds. The mortality started on 14-10-2016 and between 14 to 17th October, there was mortality of nine birds: 5 Rosy pelican, 3 ducks and one Painted Stork.

To investigate the outbreak thoroughly to determine the source of infection, this Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries has requested NIHSAD, Bhopal and the NRDDL, so that the zoo authorities across the country can implement suitable strategy to prevent the ingress of the disease to captive birds and the same is under progress.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has also been requested to issue advisories to all the wildlife/ bird sanctuaries in the country to be on alert and take necessary actions for prevention of the disease.

NIHSAD has confirmed on 19-10-2016 that the virus subtype H5N8 infection in wild birds which is a new subtype being reported for the first time in the country. H5N8 has been reported from 11 countries during 2015 and four countries (including India) during 2016.

No human infections with H5N8 has been established anywhere in the world till now. However, during control and containment operations, necessary precautions are to be undertaken while handling sick/ dead birds and contaminated material.