Avian influenza or bird flu has been detected in the samples of 1,773 migratory birds found dead in Himachal Pradesh in the last week, PTI reported on Monday. Himachal Pradesh became the fourth state after Rajasthan, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh to report the infection.
Himachal Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Archana Sharma said that the infection was confirmed by the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly. She added that the administration was awaiting reports from the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal.
The birds, most of them bar-headed geese, were found dead in the Pong Dam Lake in Kangra district. Authorities have suspended tourism in the area, according to NDTV.
The administration also banned the sale and purchase of poultry in Kangra district’s Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora subdivisions, PTI reported.
Experts believe that the H5N8 strain does not usually spread from birds to humans. While it is fatal for the bird population, it has low risk for humans, according to Onmanorama. However, a mutation may change the manner in which the outbreak occurs.
Meanwhile in Rajasthan, over 170 bird deaths were reported on Monday, taking the total in the state to over 425. A bird flu outbreak has only been confirmed in the state’s Jhalawar district and reports for other areas are awaited.
In Kerala, around 12,000 ducks have died over the last few days, according to NDTV. Bird flu has been confirmed in five of the eight samples sent to Bhopal. The outbreak has been classified as a state-specific disaster after cases emerged in two districts, reported Mathrubhumi, citing state Animal Husbandry Director KM Dileep. A high alert has reportedly been issued in the state.
Strict curbs will be imposed in Karthikappally and Kuttanad taluks in Alappuzha and Neendoor in Kottayam where the infection was confirmed.
Kerala Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju said that birds in the one kilometre radius of the affected areas in Alappuzha and Kottayam will be culled as a precaution. “The decision on compensation to farmers is to be finalised after discussions with the chief minister,” he was quoted as saying by the news channel. The government has also set up control rooms in the affected districts and formed Quick Response Teams to monitor the situation.
In Madhya Pradesh, 376 crows died between December 23 and January 3, India Today reported, citing Animal Husbandry Minister Prem Singh Patel. He said that bird flu was confirmed in samples from Mandsaur and Indore. Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu banned influx of chicken and eggs from Kerala in view of the outbreak, and sounded alerts in the bordering areas.