Bird flu confirmed in dead migratory birds in HP; outbreak reported in four states now
Shimla/Thiruvananthapuram: Himachal Pradesh on Monday became the fourth state to report cases of bird flu after Rajasthan, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, with officials confirming that migratory birds found dead at Pong Dam Lake in Kangra district have tested positive for the dreaded avian influenza.
In Rajasthan, deaths of more than 170 new birds were reported from some districts on Monday, taking the total fatalities in recent days to over 425. "Bird flu has been confirmed only in Jhalawar (district). Report of other deaths is yet to come," according to the state animal husbandry department.
As some parts of Kerala too reported the influenza outbreak, authorities have ordered culling of ducks, hens and other domestic birds within one km radius of the affected areas in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. Officials said some 40,000 birds will have to be culled to check the spread of the H5N8 virus.
A farm in Kerala's Kottayam has recently seen deaths of around 1,500 ducks due to bird flu recently.
Bird flu is a highly infectious and severe respiratory disease in birds caused by the H5N1 influenza virus, which can occasionally infect humans as well. In Himachal Pradesh, around 1,800 migratory birds, most of them bar-headed geese, have been found dead in the Pong Dam Lake sanctuary.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Archana Sharma said the laboratory at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly detected avian influenza in the samples of dead birds, while citing the information conveyed by the Centre.
At the same time, she said that her department was awaiting confirmation by the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, as it was the nodal body for testing this disease.
Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar has also suspected avian influenza in the bird samples, she added. Kangra District Magistrate Rakesh Prajapati has prohibited slaughtering, sale, purchase and export of any poultry, birds, fish of any breed and their related products, including eggs, meat, chicken, etc, in Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora subdivisions of the district.
Exercising his powers under Sections 34 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the official said that shops selling these products would also remain closed in these four subdivisions. Prajapati also banned the movement of locals and tourists within a kilometre radius of Pong Dam.
Meanwhile, over 170 new bird deaths were reported in Rajasthan on Monday, amid an outbreak of bird flu in some parts of the country, officials said.
According to the Animal Husbandry department, over 425 deaths of crows, herons and other birds have been reported in the state so far. In Jhalawar, carcass samples sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) have confirmed bird flu recently, whereas the death report of birds in other districts is yet to come, they said.