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Birds tested for avian flu at Sultanpur

After reports of bird flu from Assam and West Bengal, a team of veterinary doctors has started collecting blood samples to test for the disease in migratory birds at the Sultanpur Lake and Bhindawas in Haryana.

Written by Tanushreeroychowdhury | Gurgaon | December 19, 2008 12:36:40 am

After reports of bird flu from Assam and West Bengal, a team of veterinary doctors has started collecting blood samples to test for the disease in migratory birds at the Sultanpur Lake and Bhindawas in Haryana.

A medical team, led by Dr Kusum Lata and other veterinary doctors, and forest officials, took blood samples from five birds, two pairs of the Common Teal and one Grey Heron. “While it’s routine to collect blood from migratory birds coming from long distances and sending the samples for tests to eliminate the possibility of any kind of infection, this time round we will be testing local birds as well,” Sayed Khan, wildlife inspector at Sultanpur Lake, said.

Khan said that while animals brought from other states and countries to zoos are quarantined for a good 30 to 45 days, this cannot be done in the case of migratory birds, which also interact with the local bird population. This year, therefore, the Haryana government has issued orders for tests on local as well as migratory birds. The order has been issued by the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden (Haryana) Dr D R Ramesh Singh. He could not be contacted for comment.

The process of blood sample collection from migratory birds, like the Pintail and the Spotbill, starts around October and continues till February end. In this period, blood samples are collected twice and a tab is kept on any unnatural casualty. Samples from indigenous species are also being collected.

Khan said even if one bird tests positive for the disease, it would call for immediate action. “Any bird found with symptoms is to be rushed it to Jalandhar or Bhopal for further tests,” Khan said.

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