New Delhi: More bird deaths were reported from some parts of the country on Friday amid cases of avian influenza, with the Haryana government planning to cull over 1.60 lakh birds in Panchkula district after samples tested positive for the disease, even as the Centre said that bird flu has been confirmed so far in six states. The Centre said bird flu has been confirmed so far in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, and asked these six states to contain the disease as per the action plan. Unusual mortality of 16 birds has also been reported at DDA park Hastsal Village in the national capital, and samples have been sent to a testing lab. “So far, the disease has been confirmed from six states (Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat). “It is learnt that culling operations have been completed in both the affected districts of Kerala. The disinfection process is underway,” according to an official statement. States that are still unaffected by Avian Influenza (AI) have been requested to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality among birds and to report immediately so that necessary measures are taken in the fastest possible time, it added. Central teams have been deployed to visit the affected states of Kerala, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for monitoring and for epidemiological investigation. The government said that in Haryana, there has been confirmation of Avian Influenza positive samples from ICAR-NIHSAD in poultry (two poultry farms) of the Panchkula district. Positive samples have also been reported in migratory birds in the Junagadh district, Gujarat, and in crows in Sawai Madhopur, Pali, Jaisalmer and Mohar districts of Rajasthan. Therefore, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has suggested the affected states to contain the disease as per the Action Plan on Avian Influenza. Over 1.60 lakh birds of five poultry farms in Haryana’s Panchkula district are set to be culled as some poultry samples there have tested positive for the avian flu, Agriculture minister J P Dalal said on Friday. The employees of these poultry farms too would be examined by the health department, Dalal further said, adding they would also be given anti-viral medicines. Notably, over four lakh poultry birds died at some farms in Haryana’s Panchkula district over the past several days. Fresh cases of birds death were reported in parts of Rajasthan, taking the tally to 2,166. The avian influenza subtype H5N8 has been detected in 11 districts of the state, including state capital. As per Animal Husbandry Department, 329 deaths of birds, including 223 crows, 11 peacocks, 55 pigeons and 40 others were reported in the state today. Around 50 birds, mostly crows, have died in the national capital over the last three to four days amid a bird flu scare, officials said. “We received information about the death of crows in Dwarka and Mayur Vihar Phase 3 and of a few wild birds in Hastsal in West Delhi. However, it is yet to be ascertained if bird flu infection is the reason,” Dr. Rakesh Singh from the animal husbandry unit of the Development Department said. Around 50 birds have died in these areas over the last three to four days, he said. Amid a bird flue scare, shops selling poultry meat in the national capital have recorded have recorded 20-25 per cent dip in sales of chicken over the last few weeks. Four crows were found dead in Chhattisgarh’s Balod district, officials said. Samples of three of them were sent for laboratory testing to ascertain the cause of death, they said. The district administration has alerted people associated with backyard and commercial poultry to report immediately to the nearest veterinary centre if they witness unexplained death in birds, the officials said. The death of four crows was reported from Pondi village, located around 13 km away from Balod town, in the last two days, Collector Janmejay Mahobe said. The cause of their deaths was not immediately known and their samples have been sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, for testing to check if they died due to bird flu, he said. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the state government is fully alert to deal with bird flu and there is monitoring of the areas around Pog Dam where over 3,400 birds have died so far. He chaired a review meeting for bird flu preparedness and said that the district administration, animal husbandry and wildlife departments should work to prevent the spread its spread. “So far, 3,410 migratory birds have died due to bird flu in Pong Dam area of Kangra district and these birds are being buried with full protocol so that there is no risk of infection at any stage,” he said. The chief minister said 65 teams of the Animal Husbandry Department and the Wildlife Department are monitoring the areas around Pong Dam. Gujarat recorded its first confirmed cases of bird flu infection after samples of two dead birds from Junagadh district tested positive, an official said. The two birds, lapwings, had been rescued on January 3 from an area near Kharo Dam in Manavadar tehsil of the district, but they later died due to illness, said Dr D D Panera, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry division, Junagadh. The Punjab government banned import of poultry birds from other states with immediate effect till January 15.
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