A health worker taking a sample from a chicken to test for brid flu at a farm house. (HT Photo)
A health worker taking a sample from a chicken to test for brid flu at a farm house. (HT Photo)

Bird flu in poultry spreads in 11 more villages in seven districts of Maharashtra, confirms ICAR-NIHSAD

The ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, a nodal body for testing bird flu cases, has confirmed avian influenza or bird flu in poultry chickens at 11 places, covering seven districts of Maharashtra on Friday
By Faisal Malik, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 12:48 AM IST

The ICAR-National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, a nodal body for testing bird flu cases, has confirmed avian influenza or bird flu in poultry chickens at 11 places, covering seven districts of Maharashtra on Friday.

The central laboratory has found bird flu to be the cause of death in poultry birds in two more villages each at Parbhani and Latur districts. In addition, it has found bird flu deaths in poultry birds at two villages each in Nanded and Pune, and one village each in Solapur, Beed and Ahmednagar districts. State animal husbandry commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh confirmed the development.

“Following confirmation from the central laboratory, the district administrations will start culling poultry birds within one-km vicinity of the infected areas from Saturday,” Singh said.

Earlier, ICAR-NIHSAD has confirmed bird flu in poultry birds in one village each in Parbhani and Latur districts, respectively, where nearly 15,000 poultry birds were culled to contain the spread in other areas.

Besides, ICAR-NIHSAD had also confirmed avian influenza in other birds in Mumbai, Thane, Ratnagiri, Beed and Latur districts.

On Friday, 571 bird deaths were reported in different districts, pushing the count to 3,949 across the state. ICAR-NIHSAD also confirmed H5N1 strain of bird flu in Yavatmal district, where peacocks deaths were reported.

“As the state government has empowered district collectors to impose a containment plan, even if they only suspect deaths are owing to bird flu, most of these districts have started implementing the plan. The Centre has allowed the administration to start culling poultry birds only after receiving a confirmation report from ICAR-NIHSAD,” the animal husbandry commissioner said.

According to the containment plan prepared by the Central government, the local administration will have to cull poultry birds within a one-km radius of that particular poultry farm where bird deaths were found to be due to avian influenza or bird flu. A surveillance zone within a periphery of 10km 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 a prohibited area, which means no one can enter or exit, including local villagers. A medical team also has to be set up for the examination of the local people.

Decrease in chicken dish orders

Hotels and restaurants witnessed a reduction of chicken dishes by 10% to 20%. “Many people are now shying away from chicken dishes and ordering sea food,” said Shivanand Shetty, president, Indian Hotels and Restaurants Association (AHAR), an association of hotels and restaurants. He said that overall business has not been affected due to bird flu.

Fountain Hospitality Private Limited (FHPL), which runs four restaurants including Flamboyante and Fountain Sizzlers, has increased the variety of mutton, fishes and prawns dishes on its menu. “We have witnessed people reluctant to have chicken dishes and hence has increased other non veg items,” said Amrish Arora, managing director, FHPL.

The president of the Poultry Farmers and Breeders Association of Maharashtra said that chicken sales have come down to 1.50 lakh metric tonnes daily from the normal 2.00 lakh metric tonnes. “It will due to the scarce created by the media. It will normalise soon,” said Vasantkumar Shetty, president of the association.

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