Maharashtra became the latest in the line of states to report cases of Avian Influenza after samples of dead poultry birds tested positive for the H5N1 virus late Sunday. This is the first time that the state has witnessed a case of bird flu since 2006, when it was first reported at a poultry in Nandurbar district.
Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindrapratap Singh confirmed the development.
Earlier this week, the commissionerate had sent out samples of dead poultry birds from Parbhani district for testing to the Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases. Over 800 birds had died in a backyard poultry in Parbhani.
Besides, there have been reports of deaths of crows, parrots and pond herons from various parts of the state. Latur district has also reported the deaths of over 200 poultry birds earlier this week.
Singh told The Indian Express that orders for culling of birds within 1 km of the epicentre in Parbhani and Latur have been issued. There exist medium to small poultries with 500 to 1,000 birds in areas where culling would be undertaken. “A 10-km surveillance zone has been created and we are keeping a very strict watch on the situation,” he added.
Singh said that for quicker detection of cases, he has requested the Union government to allow testing of samples at a regional centre in Aundh. The samples from Maharashtra, including that of crow from Thane, have tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus.
Earlier, bird flu cases have been reported in migratory and wild birds from Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Kerala. Sample from Chhattisgarh and Delhi are also being tested. The Centre has asked the state governments to be on high alert.
This would be the first time the state is reporting cases of Avian Influenza since the outbreak in 2006. Between 2006 and December 2018, India has reported 225 epicentres of the disease, which had led to the culling of 83.49 lakh poultry birds. As per set norms, birds and eggs found within 1 km radius of the epicentre have to be destroyed to prevent the spread of the disease.
Avian Influenza is a highly contagious disease among birds caused by H5N1 virus. Other strains like H7 is also reported to cause the disease.
The disease was first reported in Hong Kong in 1996 and the first case of human transmission was reported in 1997 in a poultry worker. While the virus can spread to humans, human-to-human transmission has not been reported yet.
According to experts, the virus dies if exposed to 70 degrees Celsius temperature, therefore, properly cooked chicken and eggs are safe for consumption.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines