More that 1,000 bird deaths were recorded on Tuesday in India as states stepped up efforts to combat the avian influenza, PTI reported. The Centre, meanwhile, said that it has deputed an expert team to visit epicentres of the outbreak in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
So far, Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana have confirmed cases of bird flu.
In Himachal Pradesh, 280 migratory water birds were found dead in the Pong Dam Lake area in Kangra district, taking the total number of bird deaths in the state to 4,637. Their samples have been sent for testing.
The total number of birds deaths in Rajasthan rose by 626 to 3,947. Cases of the infection have been confirmed in 16 of the state’s districts. In Uttar Pradesh, 74 birds were found dead in the last 24 hours.
An unspecified number of crows, herons and mynas were found dead in Jharkhand’s Dumka district. The administration of Maharashtra’s Latur district, meanwhile, ordered the culling of birds after samples collected from Sukni and Kendrewadi villages tested positive for the infection.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying said that states have been issued an advisory on testing protocol. They have also been encouraged to undertake screening and to keep adequate stocks of personal protective equipment for culling operations.
“Constant efforts to generate awareness about avian influenza and how to deal with the situation is being shared among the general public through various media platforms,” the government said.
On Monday, Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh had asked state governments to not shut down poultry markets or restrict sales of eggs or broiler chicken meat in the wake of the avian influenza outbreak. He said that unfounded rumours about poultry products could have a cascading impact on the rural economy.
While H5N1 poses no apparent threat to humans, its highly pathogenic strains can be deadly to domestic poultry and sometimes, wild birds. This has had a devastating impact on poultry industry as authorities introduced restrictions to contain the spread of the contagion.