The bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in eight states.
The Centre’s Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying put out a statement on Sunday, confirming the outbreak in seven states — Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
Late in the evening, Maharashtra’s Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindrapratap Singh told The Indian Express that samples from the state have tested positive for the avian influenza virus. Results of samples from Delhi are awaited.
On Sunday, as many as 215 migratory birds were found dead in Pong Dam Lake wildlife sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh, taking the total number of migratory water birds suspected to have died of bird flu to 4,235, officials said.
Meanwhile, for the fourth day in a row, a large number of dead poultry birds were found dumped by the side of the Chandigarh-Shimla highway in Solan district on Saturday. A number of crows have been found dead in different parts of the state over the last few days.
In Maharashtra, which last reported cases of avian Influenza in 2006, Animal Husbandry Commissioner said orders have been issued for culling birds within 1 km of the epicentre in Parbhani and Latur. “A 10-km surveillance zone has been created and we are keeping very strict watch on the situation,” he said.
The Uttar Pradesh animal husbandry department is putting in place several precautionary measures, while urging people to avoid going to zoos and bird sanctuaries and coming in contact with any kind of bird.
Authorities have been asked to ensure that any unnatural death of a bird is reported.
Two red jungle-fowls found dead at Kanpur Zoological Park earlier this week tested positive for the influenza.
Kanpur Chief Veterinary Officer R P Mishra, the culling of birds in a one-km area of the zoological park has started. Principal Secretary (Animal Husbandry) Bhuvnesh Kumar said the outbreak “isn’t at a large scale in the state as just two birds in Kanpur have been tested positive” and added that the steps taken are “mainly preventive”.
“Our basic effort is to stop the spread to humans at any cost,” he said.
Earlier, in a letter to all Divisional Commissioners and District Magistrates, the department directed that strict surveillance of migratory birds coming near water bodies and poultry farms should be ensured. It said poultry birds and eggs should not be transported in open vehicles and all poultry markets should be closed at least one day in a week for sanitisation.
Meanwhile, the state-run Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Punjab on Sunday issued an advisory for poultry farmers and chicken consumers.
The advisory said that though there is no report of any bird flu case in Punjab, poultry farmers need to be more vigilant and follow proper personal hygiene and safety measures.
“Proper cooking on more than 70°C kills influenza viruses. Farm-to-farm transmission usually occurs through the movement of the live birds, people and contaminated vehicles, equipment etc,” the advisory said. —With PTI inputs
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