In view of the reported outbreaks in Pakistan, the North-Western States bordering Pakistan were immediately alerted to intensify vigilance in the bordering areas especially to check informal/illegal trade of restricted livestock and livestock products; intensify animal disease surveillance especially of poultry and in areas visited by migratory birds; assess and activate preparedness to handle control operations in the event of any outbreak of the disease into the country; keep poultry indoors and prevent intermingling with other species etc. The border security forces and customs field formation have also been alerted. Information, Education, Communication (IEC) campaigns have been intensified in these areas.
Precautionary steps have been taken in the country for preparedness to prevent, control and contain outbreaks of Bird Flu in the country. The details are at Annexure.
Precautionary steps taken in the country as part of preparedness and to prevent outbreaks of Bird Flu in India.
Measures taken in the country as part of preparedness and to prevent Bird Flu outbreak in India are as follows:-
1. A clear and focused National Strategy for preparedness, control and containment has been formulated. The immediate priority is to minimize the public health risk by containing AI at source i.e. the animal by halting further spread of epidemic in poultry population. Based on the outbreak experience, a detailed Action Plan (first developed by the Department in 2005) has been revised and circulated to the States in November, 2006 to undertake control and containment operations.
2. Surveillance is continuing throughout the country, More than 1,25,000 samples have been tested after February 18, 2006 (first outbreak of Avian Influenza in India).
3. A mechanism to provide immediate reporting of unusual mortality is continued to be operationized by which such information is collected by Government of India Liaison officers from States. Weekly reports on disease situation are being hosted on the Departmental website.
4. Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have been constituted at level of Government of India (Central RRTs) and State Governments (State RRTs) to combat outbreaks, if any.
5. The preparedness of the States is being continually assessed and monitored by the Government of India through video-conferences, National Conferences of Animal Husbandry Secretaries, regular touring by Government of India officers, weekly reports on unusually mortality from States etc.
6. Ready Reckoners have been developed Government of India for situation analysis of preparedness by States.
7. Joint mechanisms between key stakeholder Departments of Government of India especially Animal Husbandry and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have been operationalised at various levels and are working successfully. The Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary periodically reviews the situation. The Inter-Ministerial Task Force is reviewing the situation regularly. The Joint Monitoring Group is meeting frequently to review and decide on technical matters.
8. Reserves of essential material for control operations have been developed and are being expanded further.
9. The Department is maintaining a strategic reserve of Avian Influenza vaccines for poultry, though vaccination has not yet been applied in the country.
10. The Department has trained more than 22,000 veterinary manpower to handle control and containment operations. States have been advised to utilize the master trainers so available to train other veterinary staff.
11. Testing of serum samples has been started at regional level in the laboratories at Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune and Jallandhar.
12. The Government has announced and demonstrated its policy to compensate poultry farmers for the poultry killed in operations.
13. High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal is stocked with required reagents.
14. A project of Rs. 134.78 crores for preparedness, control and containment of Avian Influenza (AI) has been approved which will obtain World Bank funding.
15. Information, Education, Communication campaigns have been carried out jointly by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and this Department in print and electronic media.
16. An exercise has been initiated in collaboration with UNIFEF and Wetlands International to develop vulnerability mapping depicting areas under threat of AI for use as a planning tool.
17. A system has been put in place since 2004 to ban imports from countries reporting Avian Influenza.
18. In view of the outbreak in the neighboring countries, the following measures have been taken:-
a. Ban on import of all livestock, products related to poultry and swine from the affected countries.
b. Border States of Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh have been alerted.
c. States have been advised to increase surveillance, especially around water bodies; advise farmers to keep poultry indoors; prevent intermingling of poultry with other species; report unusual mortality immediately; intensify vigilance across border to prevent trade especially illegal in restricted items.
d. Border security forces and customs field formations have been alerted.
e. Information, Education, Communication campaign has been stepped up in bordering States.
This information was given in the Rajya Sabha today by the Minister of State for Agriculture, Shri Taslimuddin in a written reply.