Amid the coronavirus pandemic, another scare has come to haunt the country. This time it is the revisitation of the bird flu.

Bird flu, also called avian influenza, has come as a double whammy for states that are already fighting their biggest battle against Covid-19. The affected states are Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Kerala.

Avian influenza A(H5N1) is caused by a virus subtype that occurs mainly in birds. The disease is highly contagious among birds and can be fatal. It can also be transmitted to humans. The virus was first detected in 1996 in geese in China. Asian H5N1 was first detected in humans in 1997 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong.

The central government has issued an alert to states, saying that samples need to be collected from areas where bird flu deaths are being reported. The authorities have also launched a drive to identify those with suspected flu symptoms in the area.

The state governments, as a protocol, have imposed prohibitory orders in areas where bird mortality has been reported and may go for the culling of poultry if located within a kilometre of such a site.

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