Maharashtra’s Palghar district administration on Wednesday confirmed the detection of bird flu cases after 45 chickens died at a local poultry farm, reported ANI, citing the district collector.

“Bird flu has been confirmed in Palghar, Maharashtra, following the death of 45 chickens at a poultry farm,” Palghar Deputy Collector Kiran Mahajan told the news agency. “The district administration has ordered closure of all poultry farms and shops selling chicken for the next 21 days.”

On February 21, Maharashtra had reported 381 deaths of birds amid fears of an avian influenza outbreak. All of them were poultry birds except one, an unidentified Maharashtra government official told PTI.

State authorities have so far culled 7,20,515 poultry birds, with the highest in Nandurbar district – 5,86,668. Apart from this, at least 26,44,177 eggs and 73,004 kg of poultry feed were destroyed in infected areas, according to the news agency.

Samples of the dead birds were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and Disease Investigation Section in Pune for testing. The state government has paid compensation of Rs 3.38 crore to the affected poultry farmers in the infected zones, The Times of India reported.

The Centre on January 18 said that the outbreak of avian influenza or bird flu had been confirmed in 14 states. Three days later, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India had advised consumers to avoid eating half-boiled eggs and undercooked chicken in view of the countrywide outbreak of avian flu among poultry. In India, the disease spreads mostly through migratory birds entering the country during the winter season.

While H5N1 poses no apparent threat to humans, its highly pathogenic strains can be deadly to domestic poultry and sometimes, wild birds. Cases of human bird flu infections are due to contact with infected poultry or surfaces that are contaminated with infected bird excretions such as saliva, nasal secretions or feces.