A bird flu alert has been sounded in Rajasthan after the presence of the dreaded virus was confirmed in dead crows in Jhalawar and more avian deaths were reported in other districts, including Jaipur, officials said. The Animal Husbandry Department has set up a state-level control room and sent its teams to the districts for effective monitoring, they said.
On Sunday, seven crows were found dead at the iconic Jal Mahal here, taking the toll to 252 in the state. The Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Kunji Lal Meena, told reporters on Sunday that the deaths due to bird flu have been mainly reported among crows, with most of them from the Kota and Jodhpur divisions. The virus is dangerous and necessary guidelines have been issued. All field officers and poultry farm owners have been asked to remain vigilant. Effective monitoring is ensured at all sites, especially in wetlands, Sambhar Lake and Kaila Devi bird sanctuary," Meena said, adding a control room has been set up at the state level.
He said the crow deaths were reported on December 25 from Jhalawar. Their samples were sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal and the bird flu virus was detected. So far, the death of 100 crows has been reported from Jhalawar, 72 from Baran, 47 from Kota, 19 from Pali, seven from Jodhpur and seven from Jaipur.
Department Secretary Arushi Malik said the Centre's guidelines are being followed and an alert has been sounded in all districts. The situation is not alarming, but we are vigilant, ensuring that this virus does not enter domestic animals. The guidelines are being followed and dead animals are buried as per instructions, Additional Director Bhawani Rathore said. Over 75 samples from various places have been sent for testing, he added.
Chief Wildlife Warden ML Meena said the department has sounded an alert, and the field staff has been asked to be more vigilant. Avian influenza has been confirmed only in Jhalawar, but directions have been issued to track every instance, especially near water bodies, he said.