Eight crows were found dead in Surat and Meshana, and the samples collected from the carcasses were sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal on Thursday for testing for avian influenza, as the state government has issued a bird flu alert. Two more lapwings also were found dead at Kharo dam in Junagadh where 53 birds, including six migratory species were found dead on January 2.
Carcasses of four crows each were found from the Modhera Sun temple in Mehsana and the railway staff quarters at Madhi in Surat.
Animal Husbandry Officer of Mehsana Bharat Desai said, “It is only because of the high alert issued by the state government about bird flu that the samples were sent (to Bhopal). Otherwise it (the Modhera incident) appears to be normal (incident). We are taking all necessary steps, and are also conducting surveillance across the district with no unusual event seen. We have also issued messages to the taluka level to report if there are any incidents of dead flocks of birds The samples if positive, will be intimated between 24 to 72 hours and if not, it has to be considered negative (for bird flu).”
Desai added that in January, 54 samples have been sent to the Bhopal laboratory and between April, 2020 and December-end, 2020, 245 such samples were sent. The carcasses at Kharo dam of Bantva village in Manavadar taluka of Junagadh found last week included 46 red-wattled lapwings, three northern shovelers and three ruffs and one comb duck. Veterinary officers in Junagadh had conducted post-mortem on a few of them and had concluded that prima facie, the birds had died due to food poisoning. Their samples were also sent to Bhopal but reports are pending said Dr Savji Vaghasia, deputy director of animal husbandry in Junagadh.
“However, as part of vigilance activity, our team went to the dam site on January 4 and found that four more lapwings were ill. They looked lame, with limited mobility. They were given treatment on the spot. Two of them recovered after treatment but the other two died. This time, we packed the carcasses of the two lapwings in icepacks and sent them to the NIHSAD for testing,” Dr Vaghasia told The Indian Express on Thursday.
The animal husbandry department also surveyed several poultry farms at Uchchhal in Tapi district, after getting information about deaths of chickens, but found nothing suspicious.
A local resident found dead crows inside the staff quarters at Madhi Railway station, in Bardoli taluka of Surat district, on Wednesday evening and intimated the Bardoli Range forest office.
The forest officials reached the spot along with Veterinary officer Dr Bhumi Patel from Bardoli.
Following instructions from the director of animal husbandry of the state, they have launched a disease surveillance drive in Junagadh and adjoining districts. “While there has been no reports of any further deaths from the field, we are visiting poultry farms and taking samples of birds there. We are also talking to owners of the poultry farms and they have told us that they have not observed any unusual number of deaths in recent days,” Dr Vaghasia said, adding majority of poultry farm under the jurisdiction of animal disease investigation Unit, Junagadh were located in Talala taluka of Gir Somnath district and Mangrol taluka of Junagadh district. “I visited a poultry farm in Umatwada villagage of Junagadh taluka. There were around 5000 layer-birds and all of them looked healthy. But as part of the surveillance, we have collected samples from 30 birds and would test them in laboratories,” he added.
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