Fresh bird deaths were reported on Tuesday, including over 900 from Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, amid cases of avian influenza in 10 states and union territories, with the Centre saying it has issued advisories on testing and maintaining sufficient stock of PPE kits for culling operations. In Uttarakhand, where nearly 300 birds, mostly crows, have died over the last few days, an high alert has been sounded after samples tested positive for the influenza, while in Maharashtra, a culling exercise was ordered in parts of Latur district.
Till Monday, bird flu outbreak was confirmed in Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat. “Till January 12, 2021, additional cases of avian influenza (H5N8) have been confirmed among dead crows in HCL-Khetri Nagar in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan," the fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying ministry said in a statement.
The avian influenza strain H5N1 has also been confirmed in dead crows and a pelican at the zoological park in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh as well as in dead crows in Jagnoli and Fatehpur village in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district. The confirmation of H5N1 in poultry samples from Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district was received on Tuesday from the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, it said.
“The department of animal husbandry and dairying has issued an advisory on testing protocols to states, encouraging them to undertake screening at the state level ensuring suitable bio secure facilities," the statement said. The ministry said that states have been advised to maintain sufficient stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and accessories required for culling operations.
Reports of over 50 bird deaths were received on a helpline number of the Delhi government’s animal husbandry unit and 18 samples from different parts of the city were sent for avian flu test, officials said. Report of around 100 samples is yet to arrive, they said.
Testing of samples of crows and ducks had confirmed bird flu cases in the national capital on Monday, prompting the city government to impose a ban on sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city. “The report of around 100 samples is still awaited," Dr Rakesh Singh from the Development Department said. Teams from the department visited many parks and water bodies at Raj Ghat, Bhalswa and Hauz Khas to collect samples of dead birds and droppings on Tuesday, they said.
Carcasses of 280 more migratory waterbirds of various species were found at the Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra district, officials said. With this, the death toll of migratory birds in the hill state has risen to 4,637 with some samples taken from the lake area testing positive for the flu last week.
Of the newly found carcasses, 150 were old mortalities, officials said, adding that samples have been sent for testing. The bird death toll in Rajasthan increased to 3,947 with 626 deaths, amid avian influenza cases in 16 districts, according to a report.
Jaipur has reported the highest number of deaths at 686 birds followed by 433 birds in Jhalawar. In Jharkhand, a large number of crows, mynas and herons were found dead at a village in Dumka district, officials said. Forty to fifty birds were found dead at Pokharia village on Monday, District Animal Husbandry Officer Awadhesh Kumar Singh said.
Samples have been collected and sent for examination to Ranchi, he said, adding that the test reports would confirm if it is bird flu or there was any other reason for the deaths. The administration in Maharashtra’s Latur district has ordered culling of birds in Kendrewadi and Sukni villages after samples collected from these areas were found positive for bird flu.
Latur District Collector Pruthviraj B P has ordered culling of birds in an one-km radius from where birds infected with avian influenza were found in these villages. Officials said that at least 225 birds have died in Kendrewadi till Monday, while 12 hens have died in Sukni and four in Wanjarwadi of Udgir taluka.
Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Minister Sunil Kedar said the government will soon take steps to ensure that unorganised players engaged in poultry farming get insurance cover. In Uttar Pradesh, as many as 74 birds, including 51 crows and nine pigeons, were found dead in the last 24 hours in Kanpur, officials said, adding that samples have been sent for testing.
Samples of a couple of dead birds in the Kanpur zoo had tested positive for bird flu earlier. Some herons and crows were found dead near the Bharua Sumerpur railway station in Hamirpur and samples have been sent for examination.
High alert has been sounded across Uttarakhand with the samples of two dead crows testing positive for bird flu in the state. Samples of the dead crows sent to NIHSAD tested positive for avian influenza on Monday, forest officials confirmed.
Nearly 300 birds mostly crows have been found dead in different parts of Uttarakhand including Dehradun, Rishikesh and Kotdwar over the past few days. Telangana Animal Husbandry Minister T Srinivas Yadav said there is no bird flu in the state and various preventive measures have been initiated. There is no harm in consuming chicken and eggs, he said.