An animal husbandry department official collecting blood samples from poultry birds at a farm in Barwala in Panchkula district, where over 1 lakh birds have perished since last month.(Sant Arora/HT)
An animal husbandry department official collecting blood samples from poultry birds at a farm in Barwala in Panchkula district, where over 1 lakh birds have perished since last month.(Sant Arora/HT)

Panchkula poultry samples inconclusive, Jalandhar lab sends team to Barwala for bird flu retest

Over 1 lakh birds in the poultry hub of Haryana’s Panchkula district have died since December
Hindustan Times, Panchkula | By Tanbir Dhaliwal
PUBLISHED ON JAN 05, 2021 03:16 PM IST

The cause of the death of more than 1 lakh birds in the poultry hub of Barwala in Haryana’s Panchkula district since December remains a mystery two days after 80 samples were sent to a Jalandhar laboratory, prompting the authorities to collect samples afresh on Tuesday.

Since the 80 blood samples of poultry sent by the state animal husbandry department to the Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory in Jalandhar were inconclusive, a team from the RDDL arrived at Barwala to take fresh samples. Five carcasses were also sent to the laboratory to know the cause of the deaths.

Also read: Zoos on alert across the country after bird flu deaths in Himachal

NOT TAKING ANY CHANCES: LAB DIRECTOR

RDDL director Dr Mohinder Pal Singh said: “On Sunday, we received four samples of birds. However, we couldn’t establish the cause of death of birds in such large numbers from the four samples.”

“As bird flu has spread in adjoining areas, we don’t want to take any risk. We are taking the death of the large number of poultry birds seriously. We have sent a four-member team of experts to Barwala to collect fresh samples. The reports will be out on Wednesday evening,” he said.

IF BIRD FLU, SAMPLES TO BE SENT TO BHOPAL

The director said that in case the samples tested positive for bird flu then according to protocol, the samples will be sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal for confirmation, as it is the final authority to declare any kind of virus.

Considered Asia’s second largest poultry hub, with a daily production of more than 1 crore eggs and employing 15,000 workers at around 120 farms, the region has seen the death of over 1 lakh chickens in 10 farms over the past few days.

Bird flu or avian influenza can spread to humans and can trigger a person-to-person transmission.

While no updated mortality figures have been shared by the Panchkula administration, an official, requesting anonymity, said: “Deaths have increased manifold.” A poultry farmer in Barwala, who did not wish to be named, said over 1 lakh chickens had died at his farm alone since December 17.

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