India Intelligence Report

    Epidemiological Study Required to Understand India Outbreak


At the end of a two-day meeting of the Asia Pacific Advisory Committee on Influenza (APACI), AIIMS Department of Medicine representative Randeep Guleria speculated that the H5N1 virus will die as the summer peaks. However, he warned that it may resurge in the winter and that a detailed epidemiological study is necessary to find out the reasons for the outbreak in India. APACI Chairman Jane Jennings said that originally H5N1 bird flu virus spread with trade of infected birds in unhealthy environments and now it is through migratory birds. After studying the pattern of the spreading disease in the last few months, Guleria speculated that the virus had come to India from Europe. He said that migratory birds probably carried the disease from South East Asia to Russia, which then spread to Kazakhstan, Turkey, Europe, and Nigeria. He did not explain how the disease spread from France to Nigeria skipping Algeria, Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, and sub-Saharan Africa and showed up in Nigeria. It is also not clear how Southern European countries Greece and Italy reported incidents before France and Germany. Jennings pointed out that only a detailed epidemiological study would show the pattern. Meanwhile, the Indian Railways has restarted its chicken dishes that it had suspended with the outbreak. While the poultry industry has suffered large losses because of the virus, maize farmers have been collaterally impacted as 90% of the produce in Northern Karnataka was used in the preparation of chicken feed. Despite collapsing prices by over 20%, several thousands of tons of maize have not takers.

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