The state government on Thursday said that no bird flu or Avian Influenza case was found in Maharashtra and that people can consume chicken or eggs without fear. “There is no bird flu in Maharashtra at present,” said Sunil Kedar, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairy Business Development.
The assurance came after 15 birds, including two parrots, eight herons and crows were found dead in a swamp near Vijay Garden colony, Ghodbunder, Thane, on Wednesday. The preliminary test has revealed that the cause of death was not due to Avian Influenza, said the Animal Husbandry department in a statement.
“For advanced (RT-PCR) test, the pathology samples of the birds found dead in Thane have been sent to the animal disease investigation lab at Pune,” said Anoop Kumar, Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry department.
“Given the rising cases of avian flu in the country, the Maharashtra government is on maximum alert. There is no reason to be scared. Consumption of eggs and chicken is safe,” Kumar added.
“As Maharashtra shares borders with some of the states where the Avian Influenza cases have been confirmed, we have asked district authorities to keep a strict vigil and issued a red alert in the state,” said the minister.
Bird flu has been reported among wild geese in Himachal Pradesh, crows in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and ducks in Kerala. In Haryana, around one lakh poultry birds have died mysteriously in the last few days. A bird flu alert has been sounded in Rajasthan, where more than 250 crows were found dead in half a dozen districts.
The department said in a statement that it has been conducting bird flu surveys every year. In the 2020-21 survey, the Diagnostic Laboratory, Pune, has so far examined 1,715 faecal samples, 1,913 blood samples, 1,549 throat fluid samples in the state using advanced technologies like RT-PCR and ELISA and no avian influenza case was reported.
The department has urged farm owners and others to report any unnatural death among birds.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that causes “highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza”. There is also no evidence, the WHO says, that the disease can be spread to people through properly prepared and cooked poultry food. The virus is sensitive to heat and dies in cooking temperatures.
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