11,000 poultry birds culled in Dera Bassi on Day 1
With the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, confirming avian influenza in samples of birds sent from two poultry farms in Mohali’s Dera Bassi subdivision, the animal husbandry department culled 11,200 birds on Friday.
As many as 53,000 poultry birds are to be culled at the two farms in Behra village: Alpha and Royal. The operations began at Alpha farm on Friday.
The Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Jalandhar, had confirmed bird flu on January 15, but the final report from Bhopal arrived on January 20, a day after it had also confirmed flu in a migratory bird found dead at the Siswan reserve in the district.
Meanwhile, one more suspected case has been reported at Evergreen Poultry Farm in the same village. After receiving the report from the Jalandhar lab, the department has sent the sample to Bhopal for confirmation, said VK Janjua, additional chief secretary, animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy development, Punjab.
Dera Bassi has around 50 poultry farms. As per the protocol, all poultry birds within the radius of 1 kilometre of the infected farms are to be culled. However, there is no other farm within the given radius. The two farms in question are layer farms, which means birds are reared only for laying eggs and not for their meat, as in broiler farms.
“Hundred people have been deployed for culling, which is likely to continue for a week. Requisite safety gear, including PPE kits and face shields, and JCB machines have been provided to the teams,” said Janjua, adding that teams are carrying out humane culling, wherein the birds are “either killed instantly or rendered insensible until death ensues, without pain, suffering or distress”.
Surveillance and sampling has also been stepped up and two rapid response teams have been deployed to keep a tab on any death of birds in the district.
“The virus involved in avian influenza is zoonotic, and can be transmitted from animals to humans, as per preliminary reports. To detect symptoms of plausible infection in humans, the bird handlers in the affected poultry farms will be examined by doctors,” said an official.
4 dead birds found in Chandigarh
In Chandigarh, where no case of bird flu has been confirmed so far, a dead crow and three pigeons were recovered on Friday. The number has risen to 176 in the past couple of weeks, but only 21 samples have been sent for testing. All tested negative.
“Samples of bird carcasses found in isolation are not being sent. Only suspicious cases are sent,” said chief conservator of forests Debendra Dalai.
Dr Kanwarjit Singh, joint director, animal husbandry and fisheries department, Chandigarh, said: “We have been keeping a check on poultry birds in the city, but nothing irregular has been reported.”
In the neighbouring Panchkula district, which was the first to confirm bird flu at two farms in Barwala on January 8, the administration is still awaiting reports of around 40 other samples sent to the Bhopal lab. As many as 81,000 birds were culled at the two farms besides another one in the infected zone.