481 more birds dead in Maharashtra, count soars to 2,395
The incidents of bird deaths are rising in Maharashtra and their count has soared to 2,395 after 481 birds were found dead on Wednesday. Of them, 455 are poultry birds. This has also increased the risk of a spread of bird flu in other districts of the state. The state has also culled close to 15,000 poultry birds till date to contain the spread of avian influenza or bird flu.
In a late evening development, around eight-10 peacocks and peahens were found dead at Hinganghat in Wardha district.
Further, the state government on Wednesday empowered all the district collectors for immediate implementation of a containment plan, even if they suspect deaths are due to bird flu, said state animal husbandry commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh.
The state government is also still awaiting test results of the samples from other districts sent to the ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, a nodal body for testing bird flu cases, to confirm the cause of bird deaths, he said.
Of 481 deaths, 294 died in Yavatmal, 79 in Bhandara, 18 in Latur, 13 each in Akola and Pune, nine each in Nanded and Solapur, three each in Beed and Ahmednagar. In addition, 21 crows have been found dead in seven districts — Beed, Ahmednagar, Ratnagiri, Satara, Pune, Akola and Yavatmal, the officials said.
On Tuesday, a total of 218 birds were found dead in different districts of the state, of them 214 were poultry birds.
Till Monday, the bird flu cases were confirmed at six places that include Mumbai, Thane, Ratnagiri, Beed and Latur districts.
In Parbhani and Latur where confirmed cases of avian influenza or bird flu were detected, the district administrations have culled nearly 15,000 poultry birds.
Deepak Muglikar, Parbhani district collector said that they have completed culling process of 3,443 poultry birds within 1 km vicinity of the concerned poultry farm. The test reports of the people have also come negative. “Culling process of poultry birds within 1 km radius of the concerned poultry farm has been completed. We have also completed examinations of all the people in the village. We have also conducted RT-PCR tests of those 28 people working with the poultry farm and their reports have come negative,” Muglikar said.
Over 800 birds were found dead in Parbhani owing to bird flu last week.
Prithiviraj BP, Latur district collector said that they have culled a total 11,164 poultry birds at eleven locations in the district within one km vicinity of two villages Kendrewadi and Sukni. “We have initiated all the preventive measures following the containment plan in the district. The culling of birds has been completed and people are being examined for symptoms. A detailed report will now be sent to the state government soon,” he said.
The state animal husbandry commissioner said, “Following the provisions under section 36 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, all the district collectors have been empowered to initiate measures of the containment plan to stop the spread of bird flu even if they suspect bird flu if the cause of death in birds in the respective districts.”
This is being done to ensure the containment plan will be enforced without any delay and spread of avian influenza can be stopped. So far, the containment plan was allowed to be enforced in a district only after confirmation of a test report, he added.
According to the guidelines issued by the central government, the local administration will have to cull poultry birds within 1-km radius of that particular poultry farm where bird deaths were found due to avian influenza or bird flu. A surveillance zone within a periphery of 10-km will have to be created, which means no birds will be allowed to sell or purchase in that area. The particular village, where that poultry farm is situated, will have to be declared as a prohibited area, which means no one can enter inside and no one can come out of it that include local villagers as a precaution. A medical team has to be set up for the examination of the local people.