New Delhi: The Centre on Saturday said bird flu in poultry has been confirmed in nine districts of Maharashtra, while culling operation in poultry is underway in one district each in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Apart from poultry, the viral disease has been confirmed in crow in Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh, while in pigeon, brown fish owl and Heron in Delhi. However, the central government requested state governments to "rethink" their decisions to impose ban sale of poultry products and allow sale of poultry items sourced from the non-infected areas/states.
In India, bird flu or avian influenza is spread mainly by migratory birds coming into India during winter months from between September and March. The disease is zoonotic. Releasing latest update on bird flu situation, the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said bird flu cases have been confirmed in poultry in Latur, Parbhani, Nanded, Pune, Solapur, Yavatmal, Ahmednagar, Beed and Raigad districts of Maharashtra till Saturday. Unusual mortality of poultry has been found in a farm as per the report received from the Mumbai-based Central Poultry Development Organisation. The samples have been sent to the designated laboratory for testing, it said. Besides, bird flu in crow has been confirmed in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh, in Surat, Navsari and Narmada districts of Gujarat as well as in Dehradun district of Uttarakhand and Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Additionally in Delhi, Pigeon and brown fish owl in Najafgarh and Heron in Rohini have tested positive for avian influenza, the statement said. On culling operation in poultry, the ministry said it is underway in epicentres of Balod district, Chhattisgarh. Further in Madhya Pradesh also rapid response teams have been deployed. Culling operation of poultry is underway in the epicentre of Harda district, it added. According to the ministry, the central teams formed for monitoring the situation in the affected areas of the country are visiting the affected sites and conducting epistemological studies. On poultry sale and consumption, the ministry asked states to rethink their decisions to impose a ban on sale of poultry and poultry products and allow selling of poultry and poultry products sourced from the non-infected areas/states. "It is reiterated that consumption of well cooked chicken and eggs is safe for humans. Consumers should not heed to baseless rumours that are unscientific and often lead to confusion," it said.
These adversely affect poultry and egg markets and thereby poultry and maize farmers, who are already affected by the COVID 19 pandemic lockdown, it noted. Following the central government's advisories, states are undertaking awareness generation activities through newspaper advertisements and social media platforms. Also, continued efforts to generate awareness about bird flu and how to deal with the situation are being shared among the general public through various media platforms, including social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook handles, the ministry added.