Avian Influenza Outbreaks Spread to More States in India
A chicken inside a barn. (Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Avian Influenza Outbreaks Spread to More States in India

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The number of Indian states reporting bird flu outbreaks has increased to seven after Haryana and Gujarat confirmed positive cases among poultry and wild birds, according to a government statement.

The disease has also been found in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying said in a statement late on Sunday. Laboratory results of some samples from Delhi and Maharashtra are still awaited, it added.

Meanwhile, the Press Trust of India reported on Monday that bird flu cases were confirmed in Maharashtra and Delhi.

The outbreaks in the world’s second-biggest egg producer may come as a further blow to the nation’s poultry industry, which was recovering after prices slumped earlier this year on speculation fanned by social media that chickens could spread the coronavirus. The $14 billion industry directly or indirectly employs 5 million people and supports 25 million producers.

The federal government has asked local authorities to boost surveillance around water bodies, live bird markets, zoos and poultry farms, and ensure proper disposal of the dead birds, the statement said.

Concerns about the spread of the disease are likely to hurt poultry businesses across the country in the next two to three quarters, ICICI Securities Ltd. said in a note last week. Consumption of poultry products such as chicken and eggs may decline, while demand for poultry feed may also be impacted, it said.

Shares of Venky’s India Ltd., which reported about half of its revenue from poultry sales in 2019-20, fell 2.8%, while Godrej Agrovet Ltd. dropped 1.5%.

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