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Himachal Pradesh Reports 381 Bird Deaths; core team arrives in Kerala to assess avian influenza situation | India News

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NEW DELHI: More bird deaths were reported in several states, including 381 migratory species in Himachal Pradesh, amid cases of bird flu in parts of the country.
Meanwhile, a core team arrived in Kerala on Thursday to assess the situation in two districts where thousands of chickens and ducks were slaughtered following an influenza outbreak.
With many northern Indian states on high alert after influenza cases, the Delhi government has asked its officials to closely monitor poultry coming from “neighboring states” to prevent any infection.
The Center said that bird flu has so far only been confirmed in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, but that all states must be prepared for any eventuality.
States have been told to ensure a sufficient stock of PPE equipment and accessories needed for slaughter operations. They have also been asked to raise awareness among the public that it is safe to consume poultry products after following boiling and cooking procedures.
The number of dead migratory birds at the Himachal Pradesh Pong Wildlife Sanctuary in Kangra district reached 3,409, as 381 more were found dead on Thursday, an official said, adding that 64 dead crows have also been found in the last days in areas near the sanctuary.
The crows were also found dead in the Bilaspur district, authorities said, adding that their samples were collected for analysis.
The birds are believed to have died from an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza.
Experts from the Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India are visiting the Pong wetland to assess the situation and give advice on containing the outbreak, said wildlife director Archana Sharma.
He said 10 rapid response teams are working in nine areas of the sanctuary area for the safe collection and disposal of dead birds. Fifty-five people have been deployed for daily surveillance operations.
In addition, a control room has also been set up in Nagrota Surian to receive and disseminate all the information related to the avian flu outbreak, he said.
In Karnataka, which shares borders with Kerala, six crows were killed in the Dakshina Kannada district.
Samples have been sent for analysis to determine the cause of death, said Health Minister K Sudhakar.
Necessary precautionary measures have been taken in all districts that share borders with Kerala to prevent bird flu, he said, adding that there is no need to worry.
“Six crows died in the Dakshina Kannada district and their samples were sent for analysis. Officials from the department of health and animal husbandry will receive the test reports,” Sudhakar told reporters here.
Bird flu has been reported in parts of Kerala’s Alappuzha and Kottayam districts, prompting officials to cull more than 69,000 birds, including ducks and chickens.
“Once we have the report, based on it, we will discuss it with the Union Ministry of Health and present the necessary guidelines and actions … people should not worry, but they should remain cautious,” he said.
Nine crows were found dead in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district amid cases of avian influenza in neighboring Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, but authorities said the birds appeared to have died from the cold.
The deaths were reported Wednesday night in the Dala area of ​​the district and samples taken from two of the birds were sent to a laboratory in Bhopal for analysis, said Sonbhadra chief veterinarian AK Srivastava.
The crows appear to have died from the cold, he said, adding that so far no bird flu has been detected in the district.
Expert teams have been formed to inspect poultry farms and wetlands in Gautam Buddh Nagar state district, authorities said, while district magistrate Suhas LY has warned people not to be misled by social media rumors about avian flu.
The district magistrate also held a meeting on Wednesday with senior administration, veterinary, forestry and health officials to review the avian influenza situation.
Four crows were found dead in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, amid an alert sounded in the state in light of the bird flu cases in the country.
The crows were found dead in the premises of the famous Temple of the Sun in the Modhera village of Mehsana.
The carcasses were sent to a Bhopal-based laboratory to check if they died due to bird flu or some other reason, said Mehsana Animal Husbandry Officer Dr. Bharat Desai.
“In the case of bird flu, a large number of birds die suddenly. In this case, only four have died of unknown causes. Although it does not look like a case of bird flu, we have sent the carcasses to a laboratory. in Bhopal for detailed analysis, “Desai said.
In Kerala, a three-member core team arrived to assess the situation arising from the avian flu outbreak in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts.
The team consisting of Dr. Ruchi Jain, a public health specialist at the Union Ministry of Health, Dr. Shailesh Pawar, a scientist at the National Institute of Virology in Pune, and Dr. Anith Jindal, a physician at the RML Hospital in Delhi , held talks with district authorities at the collector in Alappuzha, they said.
Later, the team set out for Karuvatta, one of the hotspots for the flu outbreak.
According to the state government, more than 69,000 birds, including ducks and chickens, were euthanized in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts as of Wednesday to contain the H5N8 strain of bird flu.
The state minister for animal husbandry, K Raju, has said there is no history of transmission of the H5N8 virus to humans.
The authorities have banned the sale of eggs and poultry meat in the affected regions.
To bring relief to affected farmers, the state government has decided to compensate them for culling their birds.
In Punjab, Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan ordered that a laboratory of the department of animal husbandry in Jalandhar, which was being used for COVID-19 testing, now be used to examine samples of avian influenza.
There are no reports of bird flu in Punjab, but measures, such as sampling and testing, have been put in place to prevent an outbreak. The state government has sounded a red flag and the necessary logistics and funds are available to address any situation, the secretary general said.
Mahajan directed the department of animal husbandry to withdraw Covid-19 tests from the Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NRDDL) based in Jalandhar and use the facilities there to analyze samples for avian influenza.
“Results of suspected bird flu tests should be available without delay,” he said.
The Odisha government has decided to form Rapid Response Teams at the state and district levels to prevent the outbreak of avian influenza, although not a single case of avian influenza has been detected in the state.
Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra has reviewed the possibility of an outbreak of the disease, which has sparked fear in several states. Of the 11,000 samples tested so far in the state, not a single positive case has been found so far, he said.

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