New Delhi. India has declared itself free from the notifiable Avian Influenza (H5N1) and notified this to the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health). The notification to this effect has been issued on 22nd October, 2009.
India notified outbreaks of Avian Influenza (H5N1) in Assam (18 epicentres), West Bengal (11 epicentres) and Sikkim (1 epicentre) during November, 2008 to May, 2009. The last outbreak was notified on 27th May, 2009 in Uttar Dinajpur District of West Bengal. There has been no further outbreak thereafter.
The control measures adopted in all the outbreaks were stamping out of entire poultry population, including destruction of eggs, feed, litters and other infected materials in a radius of 3 to 5 kms around each outbreak location, restriction on movement of poultry, poultry products to and from the area of outbreak, disinfection and cleaning up of infected premises. The final disinfection process was completed on 8th June, 2009.
Surveillance was carried out throughout the country as per article 184.108.40.206 of OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2008). Surveillance around the area of the outbreak since completion of the operation (including culling, disinfection and clean-up) and surveillance in rest of the country has shown no evidence of the presence of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1).
It is, however, emphasized that the surveillance against Avian Influenza will have to be continued throughout the country, especially in vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds. In a communication to the States, the Centre has reiterated that States should not be led into complacency due to declaration of country freedom from notifiable Avian Influenza and must maintain their vigil against the disease.