Haryana Animal Husbandry and Dairying Department launched an extensive forensic investigation on Saturday to ascertain the exact cause behind the mass mortality of lakhs of poultry birds at one of the largest poultry belt of the country, at Barwala in Panchkula district.
More than 80 samples of the deceased birds, including their blood, food given to them and carcasses, among others, were seized to send them to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL) in Jalandhar. The samples were seized under the supervision of Dr BS Laura, Director General, Animal Husbandry and Dairying department.
Sources said the samples were seized to rule out the possibility of the highly pathogenic and genetic strain of the virus among the poultry birds.
There are around 110 poultry farms in the Barwala belt in Panchkula. The mass mortality of poultry birds was reported in about two dozen poultry farms. The mortality among the birds is being reported since December 5, 2020.
Although the senior officers declined to report any symptoms of bird flu, they maintained that the concrete conclusion depends on the findings of RDDL, Jalandhar. The laboratory takes 48 to 72 hours to release the forensic results. The RDDL, Jalandhar, is one of the top veterinary laboratories to identify and ascertain the types of viruses in animals and birds, including bird flu among birds. The institute is said to be second only to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal.
Animal Husbandry and Dairying Deputy Director Dr Anil Banwala said, “We cannot make a conclusive comment on the reasons behind the mortality of poultry birds at this moment. Either it is due to the newcastle disease, which is known as ranikhet disease in India, or due to bird flu. It will be clear after the findings of RDDL, Jalandhar. We are open to send the samples further to HSADL, Bhopal, after receiving a report from the regional laboratory in Jalandhar. The samples will be collected in the coming days as well.”
Sources in the poultry business said, “This time the mortality rate among the poultry birds is much higher. Mortality due to the newcastle disease or ranikhet disease in poultry is not new across India, including in the Barwala belt, but this rate of mortality is alarming and has thus raised eyebrows. Over two dozen poultry farms have been affected and more than 50 per cent poultry birds have died in some of the poultry farms–which is unusual.”
Sources said that the earlier collected samples were sent to Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agriculture University in Hisar, which is not equipped to ascertain the reasons behind the mass mortality of birds. President Haryana Poultry Farm Association Darshan Singla said, “Harsh winter along with the newcastle disease can be the reason behind the mass mortality of poultry birds in Barwala. Different teams collected the samples from here on Saturday.” Around 80 lakh eggs are supplied to different parts of the country everyday from Barwala.
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