Avian Flu: Officials Find Monitoring Unlicensed Shops Difficult
Health inspectors and other officials are finding it hard to identify unlicensed poultry stalls in Bengaluru.
The H5N1 Avian Influenza (bird flu) which hit the city after a gap of five years, came after the flu was detected at the KGN Chicken Center in Dasarahalli, North Bengaluru. As per officials, the shop did not have a license to sell meat.
Though it is imperative for every poultry stall to have a trade license governed by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), there are several stalls across the city which do not hold one.
The Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services (AHVS) with the help of BBMP officials are in the process of inspecting meat-selling shops for their licenses. However, they have been finding it difficult to identify and keep track of the unlicensed poultry stalls. “Since there are many shops spread across the city, health inspectors and other officials are having trouble in terms of locating them. Examining and inspecting so many stalls is a huge challenge,” said Dr Nagaraj S, Joint Commissioner of BBMP, Yelahanka zone.
Steps Taken to Cull Chicken at Unlicensed Shops
As part of the BBMP’s efforts to identify the unlicensed poultry shops, they have culled more than 50 chickens in the Dasarahalli area of North Bengaluru. This step was followed by the health department shutting down 24 chicken stalls within a one kilometre radius of the KGN Chicken Centre, where the first avian flu case was reported.
Also, as per the directions of the Influenza Action Plan issued by the Government of India (GoI), a radius of 10 kilometres around the stall has been earmarked for surveillance.
At present, the health inspectors are on the job to thoroughly check all the meat and egg selling shops within this radius. It is surely a tedious process, but it is important to identify all the unlicensed shops and take action against them.Dr Nagaraj S, Joint Commissioner of BBMP, Yelahanka Zone
Other Precautionary Measures Employed
As per the tests conducted at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, eight chickens died due to the H5N1 infection on 29 December at the KGS Chicken Centre in Dasarahalli.
As a preventive measure, the state health and family welfare department as well as the BBMP have initiated various awareness campaigns. “Sale of chickens and eggs has been stopped in the vicinity of the Yelahanka zone. In addition to that, rapid response teams have been formed to address emergencies if any. We are also employing the use to sodium hypochlorite in and around the area to prevent the spread of infections,” said Dr Nagaraj S.
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