The process of culling the domesticated geese and ducks at Sukhna Lake began on Thursday evening after a second report from Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases confirmed the presence of H5N1avian flu virus in one of the birds which died last week.
The Chandigarh Administration received a communication from the Union Ministry of Agriculture, asking it to take necessary action to control and contain the disease.
The report from NISHAD said, “On December 15, samples of dead ducks of Sukhna Lake were received by NISHAD from RDDL, Jalandhar. One dead duck was found positive for AIV H5N1 by real time RT-PCR, RT-PCR and virus isolution.”
After the ministry’s orders reached the administration, V P Singh, who is holding the charge of deputy commissioner, called a meeting which was attended by Director of Animal Husbandry, Director of Health Services, Conservator of Forests, Chief Wild Life Warden and other senior officials.
“At the meeting, a decision to cull the birds was taken. About 150 birds, including ducks and geese, will be culled today. The process will continue tomorrow, birds in a radius of one kilometer of the epicentre will be culled,” said Dr Lavlesh Kant Gupta, Joint Director of Animal Husbandry.
The island in middle of the lake, where the birds are confined now, is the epicentre.
Already, the administration has closed the the lake for morning walkers, and suspended operation of boats. Eateries and souvenir shops at the lake have been shut down till further orders.
Director of Animal Husbandry Prince Dhawan said there was no need to close poultry and shops in the city since “there is no flu outbreak like situation.”
Officials appeared clueless about the source of infection. “Migratory birds can be the source of infection, but nothing much can be done to check their movement. All we can do now is to take preventive actions to stop the spread of infection,” said Santosh Kumar, Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Officer.
The lake regularly attracts migratory birds and large flocks of these birds could be seen as the culling of ducks and geese was under way.
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