In 1995 when bird flu was detected in Pakistan, even then also the migratory birds were not the carrier of this deadly virus: Dr. Jamshed. - Photo by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Health experts on Monday rejected the news item which mentioned that threat of bird flu looms large over Pakistan and said it was all due to the misinformation.

Experts also brushed aside the concept that migratory birds were carrier of any viral disease, and mentioned that these birds are not the source or carrier of the bird flu.

During early winter, the weather starts getting harsh in northern regions of the world leaving no choice for wild birds but to leave their home grounds and move towards comparatively warmer regions in the south.

Millions of wild birds that breed in Arctic regions take flight from their homelands and travel along several routes to reach the warm wintering grounds.

A large population of migratory birds that takes wing from Siberia and other Central Asian states prefers a flyway that passes through Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and ends at coastal ranges of Pakistan.

This route is also known as Green Route or Indus Flyway. Migratory birds start their journey from the cold north usually at the end of August.

By the end of November, most of them have reached the desired destinations in warm South.

They spend the whole of winter season on wintering grounds and beat their wings back to their homelands by the end of February.

In Pakistan, an estimated population of one million birds migrates during winter.

Most of them prefer to stay on various wetlands of Sindh province since there are many large wetland complexes along the Indus River.

These freshwater wetlands provide suitable habitats and feeding opportunities to a wide variety of water birds passing through Indus flyway.

Nara canal with associated marshlands in Khairpur, Lung Lake, Hamal Kachri & Drig Lakes in Larkana, Haleji, Hadero and Keenjhar Lakes in Thatta, are some of the prominent and favourite wintering abodes of migratory water birds.

Talking to APP, Biologist at Pakistan Wetlands Programme, Dr. Jamshed Chaudhary said “We along with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently tested the migratory birds but no detection of any viral disease including avian flu was revealed”.

Furthermore, in 1995 when bird flu was detected in Pakistan, even then also the migratory birds were not the carrier of this deadly virus, he went on to add.

It is to be mentioned here that Avian influenza, sometimes avian flu, and commonly bird flu, refers to “influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds. Of the greatest concern is highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI).

“Bird flu” is a phrase similar to “swine flu,” “dog flu,” “horse flu,” or “human flu” in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.

All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species influenz.

All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the influenza A virus.

When contacted National Institute of Health (NIH), officials told that they have not received any reports regarding threats of bird flu in Pakistan.

Talking to APP, Secretary General Pakistan Poultry Association, Dr.Bashir Ahmad Bhatti said virus of bird flu was not detected anywhere in the country and these are just rumors.

He was of the view that these rumors are spread with some specific agenda and the main aim is to shamble the business of poultry.

There are black sheep in every sector and there may be some non state actors which might be planting such news which are baseless and have no grounds, he went on to add.


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