The Centre Saturday said Uttar Pradesh was the seventh state in the country to report an outbreak of bird flu or avian influenza.
Besides Uttar Pradesh, the other six states where bird flu has been confirmed are Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat.
“So far, the disease has been confirmed from seven states… The Department has issued an advisory to the affected states so as to avoid further spread of the disease,” the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy said in a statement.
According to the ministry’s statement, bird flu has been confirmed in the samples sent from Zoological Park, Kanpur, and Pratapgarh.
According to Kanpur zoo officials, two junglefowls (jungli murga) were found dead earlier this week. District Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) RP Mishra said that they received the test report on Saturday night, confirming them to be positive.
The zoo has been sealed and closed for visitors for the next 15 days, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Bareilly has stopped Covid-19 tests and will likely resume avian influenza testing at its Biosafety Level-3 (BS-3) lab from Sunday.
However, due to lack of technical facilities at the IVRI, full-body tests of birds, suspected to have died of the flu, will continue to be sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal.
On Friday, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had directed that the Bareilly-based research institute be used exclusively for avian influenza testing.
“The BS-3 laboratory at the IVRI is specialised in bird flu testing and similar other animal-related diseases. Last year, as there were not many incidences of such diseases, we were asked to test coronavirus samples. Now, as the bird flu scare is dominant, we have been relieved of conducting Covid tests and will start avian influenza tests. We have stopped accepting Covid samples and will finish our backlog by Saturday. The bird flu tests need more safety and security as the same is highly contagious and risky,” said Joint Director and institute spokesperson Mahesh Chandra.
Nearly 20 crows were found dead in an orchard in Barabanki on Friday. With bird flu scare looming large, one of the carcasses has been sent to Bhopal for testing.
Chandra added that the birds carcasses would still be sent to the Bhopal lab as it requires a full-body test.
The IVRI, Bareilly, has facilities to test only swabs and blood samples, and these tests are useful only when the bird is alive.
The laboratory at the Centre for Animal Disease Research and Diagnosis in IVRI has been testing samples from regional disease diagnostic centres as part of regular surveillance.
The CM also asked the authorities to ensure that people do not feed birds and avoid direct contact with them. Amid expectations of thousands of migratory birds visiting the rivers in Prayagraj with the start of Magh Mela next week, special care is to be taken to prevent bird flu and preventing visitors from feeding the birds.
Meanwhile, Barabanki District Chief Veterinary Officer Markandeya said that nearly 20 crows were found dead at an orchard in Baddosarai area of the district on Friday morning. While one of the carcasses has been sent to Bhopal for testing, rest were cremated as per the bird flu protocols.
With Inputs From PTI