IN THE wake of positive cases of bird flu in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, the Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Commissionerate has decided to open two surveillance centres in the state to help in monitoring the day-to-day situation here.
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Kantilal Umap, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, said the department intends to rope in bird watchers to help in keeping a tab of the spread of the disease in migratory birds too.
Earlier this week, the central government formed a high-level task force to tackle the situation after incidents of bird flu in some parts of the country. On Saturday, Umap, along with senior officers from the health and other departments, held a meeting to discuss the issue.
After the meeting, it has been decided that two surveillance centres which will help in monitoring the situation in the state will be opened. The surveillance measures will see officers of the department at the district and village levels collating information about any cases of large-scale death in poultry or other birds.
A watch is also being kept on migratory birds for possible spread of the disease through them. “Bird watchers will be roped in to report any cases of large-scale death in such birds,” he said. Umap said that bird watchers will also be trained to dispose of bird carcasses in case of large-scale deaths. The situation, he said is well under control with no death reported in Maharashtra.
In 2006, Maharashtra reported the first case of avian flu in India in the districts of Nandurbar and Jalgoan. There were 28 epicentres of the disease and 9.4 lakh birds were culled to control the spread of the infection. Since then, there have been 27 incidents of bird flu across the country, the latest being the one reported in Karnataka.
Besides the incident in 2006, Maharashtra has not seen any more outbreaks of bird flu in the last 10 years. 72.46 lakh birds have been culled due to outbreak of bird flu in the last decade.