Srinagar, Feb 6: In a major scientific undertaking, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST-K) have been awarded Rs 1.4 crore by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to study the transmission of Avian Influenza in poultry farms across Jammu and Kashmir.
A statement said that over the last three years, avian influenza has wreaked havoc on both wild birds and domestic poultry worldwide. Migratory birds, with their significant role in virus transmission across continents, contribute to this global concern. The wetlands of Jammu and Kashmir, which witness around 4 lakh migratory birds annually, are possibly integral to this interconnected web of avian influenza transmission.
The project led by Dr. Nadeem Shabir, Assistant Professor at the Division of Animal Biotechnology, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, SKUAST-K, takes a comprehensive one-health approach. The initiative aims to model the transmission of the virus from wild birds to domestic poultry, providing critical insights into the transmission patterns of the virus.
Collaborating with renowned Influenza experts in India such as Dr Pervaiz Koul, Director Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and Dr Varsha Potdar from the National Institute of Virology, the project also involves mapping the possible transmission of the virus to poultry handlers of the region considering the zoonotic nature of the virus.
Prof.Nazir Ahmad Ganai, Vice Chancellor of SKUAST-K while emphasising the significance of the project, said, "Avian Influenza poses a significant threat to both animal and human health. Through this comprehensive survey, we aim to gain insights into the dynamics of the virus in domestic and wild birds of Jammu and Kashmir, contributing vital information for effective prevention and control strategies."