Mumbai: In critical condition, hundreds of birds have been found dead in four states of the country due to the dreaded avian influenza. Governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have warned of bird flu in their respective states.
Bird flu is a highly contagious and serious respiratory disease in birds caused by H5N1 influenza that can spread to humans and be fatal.
The Kerala administration has put a high alert after bird flu cases were reported in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. To prevent the outbreak of avian influenza, the authorities have ordered the capture of ducks, chickens etc. within a radius of one kilometre of the affected areas. Bird flu was reported from Nedmudi, Thakazhi, Pallippad and Karuvatta.
Around 1,700 ducks have died in a duck farm in Nindoor Panchayat in Kottayam district. Approximately 40,000 domestic birds will be drawn to investigate the spread of the H5N8 virus.
Poultry pullings begin in areas where bird flu was detected. In the next 3 days, more than 48,000 ducks will be slaughtered by the Animal Husbandry Department. To prevent the spread of infection, birds will be burnt or buried.
The situation is worrisome in Himachal Pradesh, where more than 2,400 migratory waterbirds have been found so far. In particular, about half of the dead were the endangered bar-headed geese who visited the Pong Wetlands. Wildlife officials in Himachal Pradesh have confirmed that avian influenza (H5N1) was the cause. Apart from bar-headed goose, other species found dead were shovels, river terns, venom and mango teal.
The Rajasthan government has warned of bird flu after confirmation of avian influenza in cows in Jhalawar district last week. More than 250 crows were found dead in half a dozen districts of the state.
In Rajasthan, bird deaths have occurred in 15 districts of the state. 80 birds died in Bikaner on 3 January, 42 in Sawai Madhopur, 12 in Kota, 12 in Baran, eight each in Pali and Jaipur, six in Dausa, five in Jodhpur and 80 in Jhalawar.
The virus was found among the dead crows in Indore by the Madhya Pradesh government. Notably, crows were also found dead in Mandsaur, Agar-Malwa, Khargone and Sehore.
So far around 400 crows have died due to viral infection in 7-8 districts of Madhya Pradesh. The virus is not found in the chicken, it is airborne and there is no vaccine. We believe that it came from Rajasthan, Director of Animal Husbandry Department, Drs. RK Royde said.
From 23 December 2020 to 3 January 2021, 142 crows were found dead in Indore, 100 in Mandsaur, 112 in Agar-Malwa, 13 in Khargone and 9 in Sehore district.
The administration has asked officials to closely monitor markets selling poultry and poultry products, farms, reservoirs and migratory bird sites.
Indoor Chief Medical and Health Officer Purnima Kataria said, “About 50 crows were found dead on the campus of Daly College. Some bodies were sent for a Bhopal test. They were carrying the H5N8 virus.”
On January 3, about 53 aquatic birds including herons and combs were found dead on the banks of the Kharo reservoir in Manawad taluka of Junagadh district. The administration has taken samples and sent them for testing.
“We suspect that the birds have died due to food poisoning. The carcasses have been sent for testing,” said veterinary doctor M J Faldu.