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Bird samples suspected positive for avian flu, sent for further testing

The Regional Disease Diagnostic Lab (RDDL) in Jalandhar has sent the bird carcass samples from Gurugram to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal for additional tests, as they have been marked “suspected positive” for bird flu, officials said on Thursday
By Prayag Arora-Desai, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 10:49 PM IST

The Regional Disease Diagnostic Lab (RDDL) in Jalandhar has sent the bird carcass samples from Gurugram to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal for additional tests, as they have been marked “suspected positive” for bird flu, officials said on Thursday.

Two bird carcasses obtained from Tau Devi Lal Biodiversity Park in Sector 56 were sent to the RDDL last week.

Meanwhile, samples from three other districts — Hisar, Jind and Rohtak — where unusual mortality of wild birds was suspected, were declared negative for avian influenza by the RDDL on Wednesday.

Confirming the developments, Rajesh Chahal, district wildlife inspector, said, “We have received a report from Jalandhar saying that the samples from Gurugram are suspected to be positive for bird flu. A second round of tests is being done so that we can be completely sure. Until then, we are monitoring all wetland areas for any excess or unusual bird deaths. So far, we have found none.”

Dr Punita Gahlot, deputy director with the district animal husbandry department, declined to comment without reviewing the final lab reports. Dr Mohinder Pal Singh, joint director at the RDDL in Jalandhar, could not be reached on Thursday despite multiple attempts.

The district animal husbandry department on Thursday also convened a meeting of various line departments, whose involvement will be required in case a containment operation needs to be launched at poultry farms.

A senior veterinarian with the department, who was present at the meeting, said, “We have gone over the standard action plan to be followed in case there is an unusual mortality among poultry. No specific tasks have yet been assigned. But everyone from the police to the health department has been apprised of their role and told to be prepared.”

However, a containment operation will only be required if poultry is affected, the official pointed out, adding that there is no evidence yet to suggest this. They pointed to the reopening of poultry markets in Delhi’s Ghazipur area, where the sale and transport of poultry had been restricted after wild bird samples from Delhi tested positive for avian influenza. However, after 100 poultry samples from Ghazipur tested negative on Thursday, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal removed these restrictions, allowing the sale and transport of poultry to resume.

In case the wild bird samples test positive, the animal husbandry department will send 39 chicken samples from an area where poultry density is the highest. “The state will decide the next steps based on those results,” said the senior veterinarian cited above.

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