Centre sounds alert as bird flu cases spread to 6 states

Published on Jan 09, 2021 08:43 AM IST

The Centre has confirmed bird flu in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana, the government said in a statement.

An Indian wildlife department doctor collects a swab sample from a duck for bird flu test at Manda park in Jammu, (AP)
An Indian wildlife department doctor collects a swab sample from a duck for bird flu test at Manda park in Jammu, (AP)

As a Bhopal-based laboratory confirmed that 437,000 poultry birds in Haryana died because of bird flu, the Centre on Friday asked the six states where deaths because of the disease have been confirmed to increase their vigil and act to curb the outbreak.

The Centre has confirmed bird flu in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana, the government said in a statement.

“So far, the disease has been confirmed from six states. It is learnt that culling operations have been completed in both the affected districts of Kerala. The disinfection process is underway,” the statement read.

Following the confirmation of bird flu, Haryana is set to start the biggest culling of birds in any state. Officials said 166,000 birds would be killed in the next few days. Culling of birds is to take place within 1 km of Kheri and Ghanauli villages from where samples tested positive for bird flu, they said.


Two of the three samples sent by the Haryana animal husbandry department from poultry farms in Panchkula’s Barwala belt to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) laboratory in Bhopal tested positive for avian influenza on Friday.

“As per the report received, it has been confirmed that birds of two poultry farms were infected with avian influenza (H5N8). Though this bird flu strain is less pathogenic, the state government has issued a notification for the affected poultry farms of Panchkula as a precautionary measure,” Haryana’s animal husbandry and dairying minister JP Dalal said on Friday.

Tests done on three batches of samples sent to a Jalandhar lab from Barwala were inconclusive, following which the samples were sent to the Bhopal lab.

More than 437,000 poultry birds have died in Panchkula’s Barwala and Raipur Rani areas, considered to be Asia’s second largest poultry belt, over the past 26 days. On Friday, the central team visited the community health centre in both areas.

Arrangements have been made at the community health centre in Raipur Rani, and isolation wards set up, while Tamiflu tablets have been procured to check human-to-human transmission of the influenza, said Dr Saroj Aggarwal, deputy civil surgeon, Panchkula. “We are ready to deal with any situation.”

The Haryana government on Friday declared an area within a radius of 1 km from the two poultry farms where poultry birds have been tested for the flu as an “infected zone” and the area within a radius of up to 10 km as a “surveillance zone”.

The state government has restricted the movement of poultry goods from these areas. At least 166,000 poultry birds of five poultry farms, which fall within a 1-km radius of the two infected farms, will be culled and the state government will give 90 per bird as compensation to the owners. To prevent the spread, check posts have been set up in the infected areas, officials said.

Concerns of the spread of flu were also reported from Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar, where bird deaths were reported. Samples from all these states have been sent to the central laboratory in Bhopal.

In the states where bird flu has been confirmed, its spread is increasing. In Rajasthan, deaths of birds, mostly crows, because of bird flu were reported from 30 of 33 districts. On Wednesday, deaths were reported from 12 districts. In Madhya Pradesh, over 800 birds died in 20 of 52 districts, an increase of 12 in the past two days.

In Maharashtra, suspected flu deaths were reported from three more districts, taking the number of affected districts to eight. Close to 350 birds have died so far. The preliminary results of samples tested in Pune were negative, but final confirmation will come from the Bhopal lab.

“Any confirmation of bird flu is to be done only by NIHSAD,” said Anoop Kumar, principal secretary at the state animal husbandry department.

Bird flu is under control in Kerala, another major hot spot, where about 28,000 birds have died and another 70,000 been culled, mostly in Alapzuha and Kottayam, said Kerala animal husbandry minister K Raju.

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