Bird flu spreads its tentacles



New Delhi

A bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in seven states, the Centre said on Sunday even as fresh avian deaths were reported from various parts of the country.

The outbreak has been confirmed in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, while the test results are awaited for the samples collected from Delhi and Maharashtra.

The samples collected from Chhattisgarh’s Balod have tested negative for the avian influenza virus, the department of animal husbandry and dairying said in a statement.

The government has also directed zoo managements to submit daily reports to the Central Zoo Authority till their area is declared free from the disease.

The CZA, under the environment ministry, issued an office memorandum saying avian influenza is a scheduled disease under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, and reporting such a disease is obligatory for taking appropriate preventive measures against its spread.

Seventeen more ducks were found dead at the Sanjay Lake in Delhi, prompting authorities to declare it an “alert zone”.

This came a day after the Delhi Development Authority  closed the famous water body-cum-park following the death of 10 ducks on the premises. The samples from the dead ducks have been sent for testing.

Besides, 91 crows have been found dead in 14 DDA parks in the last few days, officials said.

Carcasses of 215 migratory birds were found in the Pong Dam Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra, taking the total number of such birds suspected to have died of avian influenza to 4,235, officials said.

Also, for the fourth day in a row, a large number of dead poultry birds were found dumped by the side of the Chandigarh-Shimla highway in Solan district. The remains of the birds were buried according to safety protocol and their samples sent to a disease diagnostic laboratory in Jalandhar.

Over 400 birds, mostly crows, were found dead in different parts of Rajasthan.

With the 428 fresh deaths, the number of birds that have died in the past few days has reached 2,950 in the state.

Of the 428 birds reported dead on Sunday, 326 were crows, 18 peacocks, 34 pigeons and 50 others.

Bird flu cases have so far been confirmed in 13 Madhya Pradesh districts, while around 1,100 crows and other wild birds have been found dead across 27 districts since the virus was first detected in the state last month, an official said.

Control and containment have been completed in both the affected districts of Kerala, the government said, adding that post-operational surveillance programme guidelines have been issued to the state.

An “alert zone” was declared in a 10-km radius around the Ahmedpur area in Maharashtra’s Latur after 180 birds, including 128 hens, were found dead over the last couple of days, an official said.

The “alert zone” has been marked as a precautionary measure around Kendrewadi village, around 265 km  from Aurangabad, he said.

According to a Latur district administration release, the alert zone norms mandate that no vehicle will enter or leave the place and the transportation of poultry, birds, animals, feed, manure etc. Will be prohibited.