Officials of the Maharahstra Animal Husbandry Department have been put on alert along districts near the Karnataka border after an outbreak of H5 avian influenza was reported at Dasarahalli village in Bengaluru Urban district. Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Commissioner Kantilal Umap, however, assured that the situation was being monitored and “there was no need for alarm”.
At the state headquarters of the department in Pune on Friday, officials were busy trying to secure more information from districts located along the Karnataka border. “It has been confirmed that samples from a poultry shop had tested positive for the H5 avian influenza at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal,”
an official said.
“We already have surveillance centres in these districts… we will hold a video conference on Saturday and direct the officials to remain vigilant,” said Additional Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry, Dr D M Chavan. The state government will hold meetings with animal husbandry department officers in Kolhapur, Solapur, Sangli, among other districts, added Chavan.
A decision on whether teams should be sent to these districts, among other issues, will be taken soon, said Umap. “There are guidelines in place to protect poultry from diseases and we will further strengthen our surveillance,” he added.
In 2006, Maharashtra had reported the first case of H5 avian influenza in Nandurbar and Jalgaon districts, and over nine lakh birds had to be culled to control the spread of the infection.
“We have not had any major cases since then and sporadic incidents have remained under control,” said Umap.
While containment operations are underway in Karnataka, a two-member central team from the Department of Animal Husbandry has been sent to Bengaluru to oversee and assist in the operation.