The number of bird deaths in Maharashtra since January 8 has reached 2,359 with 481 deaths recorded across the state on Wednesday.
Of the 481 cases, 455 were poultry birds. Of these, 294 birds died in Yavatmal, 18 in Latur, three each in Beed and Ahmednagar, 13 each in Akola and Pune, 79 in Bhandara and nine each in Solapur and Nanded districts. The animal husbandry department did not update the location of the remaining 14 poultry birds found dead in the state on Wednesday.
In the past two days, Yavatmal district recorded 494 poultry bird deaths. Pune (13) and Solapur (9) recorded fresh poultry bird deaths cases on Wednesday. “Other than in Yavatmal, where 200 poultry bird deaths were recorded on Tuesday and another over 200 on Wednesday, other cases are sporadic and not concentrated in one district,” said Principal Secretary (Animal Husbandry) Anoop Kumar.
Following the Union government’s guidelines, nearly 11,092 poultry birds were culled in Latur in the past two days with the district administration issuing a prohibitory order which stopped the transportation of poultry products, birds, animal feed and manure. Vehicles have also been banned from entering the bird-flu-hit areas in the district.
After a delay, around 3,443 poultry birds were culled in Parbhani, on Wednesday. Of the 16 districts that have recorded bird deaths in the state, six districts have confirmed cases of bird flu or avian influenza. Culling of poultry birds has been ordered in Latur and Parbhani districts.
Avian influenza has been confirmed in Parbhani, Latur, Mumbai, Thane, Beed and Ratnagiri districts till now. Parrots and pigeon sample from Nagpur tested negative for avian influenza.
On Wednesday, 21 crows were found dead. Of this, four died in Beed, one each in Ratnagiri, Satara and Ahmednagar, four in Pune and five each in Akola and Yavatmal. Remaining five were other birds.
The samples have been sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and Disease Investigation Section, Aundh in Pune, for testing. It can take 48 to 72 hours to receive the results of the tests.
When asked about banning the import of poultry products, the one similar in Delhi, Kumar assured that eggs, chicken and other poultry products are safe for consumption if they are cooked properly. “We majorly import poultry products from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh which are not affected by bird flu. Besides, from day one, when the bird flu was confirmed in the state, preventive measures like culling of infected poultry and sale and purchase of poultry from the infected zones were prohibited.”
To control the disease’s spread, poultry birds will be culled within 1km radius of the farm where it is confirmed that birds have died due to avian influenza or bird flu. As per the Centre’s guidelines, a 10-km surveillance zone will also be created where selling and purchase of birds will not be allowed.
Consumption of chicken and eggs have dipped since reports of the disease emerged. In a meeting on Wednesday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed guardian ministers to oversee the public awareness drive and allay fears.
Given the spread of bird flu, the state government invoked the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, and delegated powers to the district and civic administration to take decisions locally and step up measures to contain avian influenza. Under this Act, reporting such a disease is obligatory to take appropriate preventive measures.
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