The Indian poultry industry could face a catastrophe due to a looming threat of an Avian Influenza (popularly bird flu) attack.
Sounding a warning on this possibility, Dr Jacques Diouf, Director General of Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), United Nations, has said in Chennai, a South Indian Metropolis, that the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 might spread to India from neighbouring countries.
"Considering the presence of bird flu H5N1 viruses in neighbouring countries, it is possible India will face repeated incursions posing a threat to animals and humans," he said.
Diouf's warning comes close on the heels of an outbreak of bird flu in the Northeastern State of Manipur last month. Thousands of poultry birds were culled in the State, bordering Myanmar after the bird flu spread.
Officials had sounded out an alert in the Indian capital New Delhi, Orissa and Rajasthan as a precautionary measure.
While poultry farmers in the south Indian State of Andhra Pradesh had expressed concern about export of eggs being affected due to bird flu, Sri Lanka had already banned import of poultry from India. The country is the fifth largest producer of eggs and ninth largest producer of poultry meat in the world.
The first case of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in India was reported in February 2006 in Maharashtra, in Central India.
Diouf called for a strategic and integrated approach to manage risks in food safety, animal and plant health in the wake of the threat.