- Himachal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan have confirmed bird flu
- 4 lakh poultry birds have died in Haryana district alone in 10 days
- National parks, wildlife sanctuaries have been asked to take precautions
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In Kerala, around 24,000 birds, mostly ducks, were culled on Tuesday after the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza was confirmed in parts of Alappuzha and Kottayam. Sale of poultry and related products has been regulated only in the affected parts. H5N8 strain, according to officials, remains localised, and has not spread beyond the affected regions. As compensation, the state government will provide Rs 200 each to the owners of birds older than two months, and Rs 100 each for birds less than 1 month old.
Four epicentres have been identified by the centre in Kerala. Control rooms and Quick Response Teams have also been set up in Alappuzha and Kottayam. Tamil Nadu has set up 26 check posts - bordering Kerala - to monitor the transport of poultry and related products. The Health Ministry has sent multi-disciplinary teams to Alappuzha and Kottayam districts in Kerala, and Panchkula in Haryana.
Over 69,000 birds including ducks and chicken were culled in Alappuzha and Kottayam to contain flu, Kerala Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju said today. The minister said 19 Rapid Response Teams have beenengaged in culling birds in both the districts and the regions suspected to have infected the birds will be sanitised on Thursday.
Four lakh poultry birds have died in Haryana's Panchkula district alone in the last 10 days. The state, however, is yet to confirm the viral outbreak. A probe is on, authorities have said. "We are waiting for lab reports, and we will then take steps accordingly," Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said today.
Himachal Pradesh became the fourth state on Tuesday after Kerala, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to confirm the avian flu. Around 2,700 migratory birds, most of them bar-headed geese, were found dead at Pong Dam sanctuary. Slaughter, sale, purchase and export of any poultry birds, fish of any breed and their related products, including eggs, meat, chicken, have been banned in Kangra district, marked as an epicentre.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will hold an emergency meet today; Mandsaur, Indore, Malwa have reported cases of bird flu. In Indore, the health department, which is already battling against the COVID-19 virus, has now begun door-to-door medical check-up of people living in areas where hundreds of crows were found dead. Maharashtra, which shares border with Madhya Pradesh, has not yet reported any cases.
In Rajasthan, bird flu has been confirmed in four districts- Jaipur, Kota, Baran and Jhalawar. A total of 717 crows have died so far; 246 died in the past 24 hours. Poultry from Madhya Pradesh is not being allowed into the border districts. Special teams have been sent to monitor the situation. National parks and wildlife sanctuaries have been asked to take precautions.
15 pond herons were found dead today at a housing complex in Maharashtra's Thane. The carcasses have been sent to a veterinary hospital to find out the cause of death.
In a statement, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying said: "The measures suggested to the affected states to contain the disease include strengthening the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfection of affected areas, proper disposal of dead birds or carcasses, timely collection and submission of samples for confirmation and further surveillance for prevention of disease spread from affected birds to poultry and human."
India reported the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006. Bird flu viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries with four known major outbreaks recorded in the last century, the government data shows. In India, the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into the country during winter months from September-October to February- March. The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites) cannot be ruled out, according to the government.