States On Alert As Fear Of Bird Flu Grows

The several States on Tuesday sounded an alert to contain avian influenza, or H5N8, while Kerala began culling thousands of ducks. Nearly 2,000 migratory birds were found dead in Himachal Pradesh, while Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh reported deaths of several hundred birds. In Haryana, the “unusual” deaths of four lakh poultry birds have been reported in the past 10 days, but there is no confirmation on whether they died of avian influenza. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, both neighboring Kerala, put their Animal Husbandry and Forest Departments on alert as fears of the bird flu spreading grew.


In Kerala, after H5N8 was detected among ducks in the Kuttanad region, authorities on Tuesday began culling birds within a 1 km radius of the infected areas. Officials said rapid response teams had culled more than 21,000 birds, mostly ducks, at Nedumudi, Thakazhi, Pallippad, and Karuvatta in the Alappuzha district and Neendoor in Kottayam district. Five of the eight samples sent to the National Institute of High­Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, following the mass death of ducks last month, tested positive for bird flu. Around 28,000 ducks have perished in the past two weeks in Alappuzha and another 1,700 in Kottayam.


In a related development, the State Health Department launched a survey in the infected areas, and people are being checked for fever and other ailments. Tamil Nadu The Tamil Nadu government has activated all check posts to prevent the entry of poultry from Kerala into the State. Personnel from the Animal Husbandry Department have been deployed at the border at Puliyarai to stop vehicles carrying chicken, ducks, and eggs. The department has advised poultry farms in Namakkal, a major poultry hub, to take precautionary measures. The Rajasthan government sounded an alert and established a State Level control room in Jaipur to monitor the situation after the disease was identified by Bhopal’s animal disease laboratory in the samples sent from Jhalawar, Kota, and Baran districts. 


Crows comprised the majority of about 600 birds that have died in the State so far, while other birds included heron and baya weaver, Principal Secretary (Animal Husbandry) Kunji Lal Meena said. Fifteen districts have reported the disease. In Himachal Pradesh, close to 2,000 migratory birds, including endangered species, have died at the Pong dam lake in Kangra district.  Confirming the deaths, Kangra Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Prajapati ordered a complete lockdown in the four subdivisions to check the spread of the disease




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