Avian Flu: Samples Test Positive, Over 1.6 Lakh Birds to Be Culled in Haryana's Panchkula
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Over 1.60 lakh birds at five poultry farms in Haryana's Panchkula district are set to be culled after some samples tested positive for bird flu, Agriculture Minister J P Dalal said on Friday. The minister told reporters that they had sent samples from two Panchkula poultry farms to Bhopal for testing.
Five samples of Siddharth Poultry Farm at Kheri village in Raipur Rani block of Panchkula tested positive for H5N8 strain of avian flu, Dalal said. Similarly, samples of some birds from Nature Poultry Farm at Ganauli village tested positive, he said, adding that it necessitated the culling of birds at poultry farms within 1 km of both establishments.
The minister said 1,66,128 poultry birds of five poultry farms falling within 1-km radius of the two farms will be culled and buried as per the guidelines of the Union government. The minister said the state government has constituted 59 teams for the drive and owners of the poultry farm will be given compensation of Rs 90 per bird. The state government has also declared the area within 1-km radius of the two poultry farms as infected zone and the area from 1 km to 10 km as surveillance zone. Immediate action was taken and clinical investigation was carried out as soon as the state government was apprised of the unusual death of birds in the poultry farms of Panchkula, said the minister.
During investigation, it surfaced that around four lakh birds had died in the poultry farms in the past month. He said initially samples were sent to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar. However, due to delay in the arrival of report, the samples were sent to the Bhopal's National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases for examination. He said though this bird flu strain (Avian Influenza–H5N8) is less pathogenic, the state government has issued a notification for the affected poultry farms of Panchkula as a precautionary measure.
He said to prevent the spread of the disease, check-posts have been set up in the infected areas. Dalal said the state Health Department will monitor the health of employees and owners of the infected poultry farms. The employees will be examined by the Health Department and will be given anti-viral medicines, Dalal said. He said the department will also keep a vigil on the areas with large number of poultry farms in Jind and Safido.
Panchkula's Barwala-Raipur Rani area is one of the largest poultry belts in the country with 70-80 lakh birds in more than 100 farms. Dalal said the avian influenza virus is sensitive to heat. Moreover, normal temperatures used for cooking in India (70C for all parts of the food) can kill the virus. Henceforth, before consuming poultry products, consumers should ensure that all parts of the poultry are fully cooked (no pink parts) and that eggs, too, are properly cooked (no runny yolks), he added.