H5N1 outbreak And Poultry sector

H5N1 outbreak And Poultry sector



Why in the News?


The ongoing H5N1 outbreak has brought attention to the biosecurity concerns within the poultry sector. The cramped and unhygienic environments in which chickens are kept have facilitated the spread of the virus, resulting in its transmission to humans.


About H5N1 influenza virus


  • H5N1, commonly known as bird flu, is a strain of influenza virus that induces a highly contagious and severe respiratory illness termed avian influenza in birds. 
  • It belongs to the subtype of influenza A virus and is categorized based on the characteristics of its surface proteins. 
  • There exist 18 different hemagglutinin subtypes and 11 different neuraminidase subtypes, denoted as H1 through H18 and N1 through N11, respectively, such as A(H1N1) and A(H3N2). 
  • Although human cases of H5N1 avian influenza arise sporadically, transmitting the infection from person to person is challenging. However, when individuals do contract the virus, the mortality rate is approximately 60%.


How can H5N1 Outbreak impact the poultry sector in India?


The outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza poses significant challenges to the poultry industry in India, impacting various aspects of production, trade, and public health. 


Economic Impact

  • One of the immediate concerns for the poultry industry in India during an H5N1 outbreak is the economic impact. The imposition of trade restrictions and bans on poultry exports by other countries can lead to significant financial losses for Indian poultry farmers and exporters. 
  • Reduced demand for poultry products domestically due to fears of contamination can further exacerbate the economic strain on the industry. 

 Livestock Loss

  • H5N1 outbreaks often result in the culling of infected poultry flocks to contain the spread of the virus. This leads to a substantial loss of livestock for poultry farmers, affecting their livelihoods and causing a disruption in production. 
  • The decreased supply of poultry products can drive up prices in the market, impacting consumers and businesses reliant on affordable protein sources.

Public Health Issues

  • The presence of H5N1 avian influenza in poultry poses significant public health concerns. While transmission of the virus from birds to humans is rare, it can have severe consequences when it occurs. Public fear of consuming poultry products during an outbreak can lead to a decline in consumption, affecting the poultry industry’s profitability. 



How can H5N1 be contained to protect the Poultry sector?

Containing and reducing the impact of H5N1 avian influenza on the poultry sector requires a multifaceted approach involving proactive measures at various levels.

  1. Enhanced Biosecurity Measures

Implementing stringent biosecurity protocols on poultry farms is essential to prevent the introduction and spread of H5N1 avian influenza. This includes measures such as restricted access to farms, proper sanitation practices, and regular disinfection of equipment and premises.

  1. Surveillance and Monitoring
  • Early detection of H5N1 outbreaks is crucial for effective containment and control. Establishing robust surveillance systems to monitor poultry populations for signs of avian influenza can facilitate early intervention measures.
  • Regular testing of birds for the presence of the virus, especially in high-risk areas or regions with a history of outbreaks, can help identify and isolate infected flocks before the virus spreads further.
  1. Vaccination Programs

Vaccination of poultry against H5N1 avian influenza can help reduce the severity of outbreaks and minimize the spread of the virus within poultry populations. Implementing vaccination programs targeted at high-risk areas or susceptible poultry breeds can bolster immunity and provide an additional layer of protection against the virus.

  1. Education and Awareness
  • Raising awareness among poultry farmers, workers, and stakeholders about the risks associated with H5N1 avian influenza is crucial for prevention and control efforts.
  •  Providing education on biosecurity practices, proper hygiene, and early detection methods can empower individuals within the poultry sector to take proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
  1. Coordination and Collaboration
  • Effective coordination and collaboration between government agencies, veterinary authorities, industry stakeholders, and international organizations are essential for a comprehensive response to H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks.
  • Establishing communication channels and sharing information and resources can facilitate timely response efforts, resource allocation, and the implementation of cohesive control measures.


About the Poultry sector of India


  • The poultry industry in India encompasses the domestication of birds for various purposes, predominantly for meat and egg production. 
  • This sector is experiencing rapid growth within the agricultural domain. 
  • India currently ranks as the world’s third-largest producer of poultry meat and eggs, yielding over 4.78 million tons of chicken and 129.6 billion eggs annually. The country’s total poultry feed production reached 27 million metric tons per year in 2022.
  • In terms of growth, the poultry meat sector in India has maintained an average annual growth rate of 8%, while egg production has seen a rise of 7.45% from 2014-15 to 2021-22. The Indian poultry market’s size expanded to INR 2,099.2 billion in 2023, demonstrating a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.9% during the period from 2024 to 2032.
  • The top five egg-producing states in India are Andhra Pradesh (20.13%), Tamil Nadu (15.58%), Telangana (12.77%), West Bengal (9.93%), and Karnataka (6.51%).


Government Response


  • India’s strategy for managing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) adheres to a “detect and cull” approach as outlined in the National Action Plan for Prevention, Control, and Containment of Avian Influenza (revised – 2021). This comprehensive plan entails the humane euthanasia of infected and exposed animals, as well as disposal of contaminated eggs, feed, litter, and other materials. 
  • Additionally, measures such as imposing restrictions on the movement of poultry and poultry products, conducting disinfection and clean-up operations at affected premises, and implementing a Post-Operative Surveillance Plan (POSP) have been put into action.
  • The Assistance to States for Control of Animal Diseases (ASCAD) program encompasses initiatives aimed at vaccinating against economically significant diseases affecting livestock and backyard poultry. These efforts are tailored to the specific priorities of each State/Union Territory (UT), aligning with disease prevalence and the resulting impact on farmers’ losses.
  • Infrastructure Development: This scheme focuses on enhancing cold chain facilities, value addition, and preservation of infrastructure, as well as the establishment or modernization of abattoirs, particularly for government-operated facilities.


Download Yojna daily current affairs eng med 01st May 2024


Prelims based Question


Q1. Consider the following Statements:

  1. The H5N1 virus can circulate only in Birds.
  2. H5N1 remains infectious for long periods in cold temperatures.

Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a). 1 Only

(b). 2 Only

(c). Both 1 and 2

(d). Neither 1 nor 2





Mains based Question


Q1. What are the economic impacts of the H5N1 outbreak on the poultry sector in India, and how do they affect both farmers and consumers?


No Comments

Post A Comment