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No case of bird flu in Maharashtra so far

The state is committed to control the outbreak of the disease and is taking preventive measures for the same, reports Yogesh Joshi.

india Updated: Jan 29, 2007 18:05 IST

It's the season of migratory birds taking shelter to various countries including India in Asia. Also is the season for the outbreak of bird flu in countries like Japan and Indonesia. However after last year's experience in which migratory birds from Asian countries carried in Avian Influenza in India along with them and became the main cause for the outbreak of bird flu in Navapur area of Maharashtra, the state animal husbandry department is keeping a tight vigil on these Asian guests.

While on one hand Japan and Indonesia have confirmed another outbreak of bird flu at their backyard poultry farms, the state of Maharashtra remains free from bird flu so far this year. "We have tested more than 9000 samples of birds till December last since June. Many of them were migratory birds. But its good to know that all the samples have been tested negative", state animal husbandry commissioner Bijay Kumar told Hindustan Times.

And its not only the state officials, who are talking about their efforts to prevent the deadly diesease. Bernard Vallat, Director General, World Animal Health Organisation too in his last week visit to the state appreciated the state's efforts to control animal diseases. In his meeting with the senior officials of the state animal husbandry department, Vallat said that the state's was capable and committed to control animal diseases for getting healthy food and ensuring good human health.

DIS' live stock developmental officer AM Kulkarni said that India shares three main "flyways" through which migratory birds normally passes through. Countries like China and Iran too share the same flyways. Both the countries have been reported with bird flue cases. As per the reports the H5N1 virus, which causes Avian Influenza, has killed at least 164 people worldwide since 2003, most of them in Asia, and more than 200 million birds have died or have been culled to prevent its spread. In the state last year more than 1.5 lakh birds had to be culled, pushing the entire poultry industry into economic crisis.

Animal Husbrandry Commissioner Bijay Kumar said that the only preventive measure to curb the outbreak of bird flu is surveillance. Deputy commissioner, DIS, SV Pathak said that birds including bar headed goose, flamingoes, seagull, little grebe, stork and shell duck are the main seasonal guests migrating to India in the winter season. Many of them come from Russia, China or Iran. Incidently all the three countries have been reported with bird flu cases.

First Published: Jan 29, 2007 18:05 IST