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Opinion

Avian influenza confirmed in dead migratory birds in Himachal; outbreak reported in four states now

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Himachal Pradesh on Monday became the fourth state to report cases of bird flu after Rajasthan, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, and authorities confirmed that migratory birds found dead in Pong Dam Lake in Kangra district tested positive for the dreaded avian influenza.

In Rajasthan, more than 170 new birds were reported killed in some districts on Monday, bringing the total deaths in recent days to more than 425. “Bird flu has only been confirmed in Jhalawar (district). The report of other deaths is yet to come, ”according to the state department of animal husbandry.

As some parts of Kerala also reported the influenza outbreak, the authorities have ordered the slaughter of ducks, chickens and other domestic birds within a radius of one kilometer of the affected areas in the Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. Authorities said some 40,000 birds will have to be euthanized to control the spread of the H5N8 virus.

A farm in Kerala’s Kottayam has recently seen the death of around 1,500 ducks due to bird flu.

Avian flu is a serious and highly infectious respiratory disease in birds caused by the H5N1 influenza virus, which can occasionally infect humans as well.

In Himachal Pradesh, around 1,800 migratory birds, most of them rod-headed geese, have been found dead at the Pong Dam Lake Sanctuary.

Senior Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Archana Sharma said the Indian Veterinary Research Institute laboratory in Bareilly detected avian influenza in samples from dead birds, while citing information relayed by the Center.

At the same time, he said that his department was awaiting confirmation from the National Institute for High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, as it was the nodal body to test this disease.

The Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar also suspected avian influenza in bird samples, he added.

Kangra District Magistrate Rakesh Prajapati has prohibited the slaughter, sale, purchase and export of poultry, poultry, fish of any breed and their related products, including eggs, meat, chicken, etc., in the subdivisions from Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora from the district. . Exercising his powers under Sections 34 of the Disaster Management Act of 2005, the official said that stores that sell these products will also remain closed in these four subdivisions. Prajapati also banned the movement of locals and tourists within a one kilometer radius of the Pong Dam. At Himachal’s Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary, wildlife staff first reported the sudden death of four bar-headed geese and a common teal in the Fatehpur area last Monday.

The next day, more than four hundred migratory waterfowl were found dead in the Majhar, Bathari, Sihal, Jagnoli, Chatta, Dhameta and Kuthera areas in the Dhameta and Nagrota wildlife ranges. Hundreds more birds were subsequently found dead each day, for a total of 1,773 as of Sunday, he said.

He said that more than 90 percent of the dead birds were bar-headed geese, the most common migratory species in the lake that arrive here from Central Asia, Russia, Mongolia and other regions in the winters after crossing the Himalayan ranges. There are eight and nine other species of birds whose members have been found dead.

Last year, more than a lakh of migratory birds had camped on the lake in late January and this year, more than 50,000 have arrived so far.

The dead birds will be disposed of under bird flu protocol, authorities said, adding that so far no such deaths have been reported in other bodies of water in the state.

Wildlife, veterinary and animal husbandry personnel across the state were put on alert and asked to immediately report the death of any bird or animal. The Gopalpur Zoo in Kangra, which is located near Lake Pong, has been put on high alert.

Recently, an avian flu alert was issued in Rajasthan after dead crows were found in half a dozen districts. Cases of bird flu were also confirmed in dead crows in Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

The bird flu virus was detected in about 50 crows whose carcasses were found in Indore in Madhya Pradesh last week, prompting authorities to issue an alert.

In Rajasthan, 80 bird deaths were reported in Bikaner on Sunday, 42 in Sawai Madhopur, 12 in Kota, 12 in Baran, eight in Pali and Jaipur, six in Dausa, five in Jodhpur and two in Jhalawar, according to the state animal. breeding department. The deaths have been reported in 15 districts of the state.

Kerala, which saw the last major case of bird flu in 2016, has sounded on high alert in affected districts considering the virus’ potential to infect humans, even though authorities said the situation was under control.

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