GANGTOK: In the wake of the outbreak of avian influenza from across the country, the Sikkim government has declared a blanket ban on all import of poultry products from other states for a month.
In a notification from the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department Secretary, it stated that "In the wake of the report of an avian influenza outbreak in several states and to prevent possible ingress of avian influenza disease in the state, the Government of Sikkim hereby imposes ban on entry of poultry and with the outbreak of avian influenza as many as ten states have reported a loss of poultry products poultry products from outside the state with immediate effect for a period of one month from the date of issue of notification."
Meanwhile, other Northeastern states like Meghalaya and Assam has also imposed a ban on import of poultry products from other states.
It may be mentioned that the outbreak of avian influenza has been reported from states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala.
Earlier, speaking to the sentinel, Manoj Saikia, Chairman of Assam Live Stock and Poultry Corporation has said that no strain of bird flu has been found in Assam so far and there is no need to panic or worry right now.
Assam imports about 8-10 tonnes of poultry from states like West Bengal and Bihar while exports a lot of its poultry to neighbouring states like Meghalaya and Mizoram, therefore, the state has to import from other states to meet the state's demand.
It is to be mentioned that the State animal husbandry and veterinary department have further asked all its district officers to carry out selected virological surveillance of wild migratory birds in nesting areas as well as carry out surveillance in wet and live poultry markets, poultry supply areas, with a high duck population, water bodies where wild and domestic birds congregate.
Notably, there is no direct evidence that Avian Influenza or H5N1 viruses can be transmitted to humans via the consumption of contaminated poultry products. H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes "highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza", according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).