Around 100 migratory birds have died in Pong Dam Lake in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh following the outbreak of a second wave of bird flu in the state, PTI reported on Wednesday, quoting wildlife officials.
Chief Wildlife Warden Archana Sharma said that the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal has confirmed the presence of H5N8 avian influenza among the samples of the dead birds. The strain is a different one from the H5N1 that was detected earlier this year, Sharma said.
Bird flu was first confirmed among migratory water-birds at Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary in early January, which had left around 5,000 birds dead in a month, according to PTI. The spread of the virus was contained in early February but it has now resurfaced with the discovery of a dozen bird carcasses in the sanctuary on March 25, the officials said.
Sharma said that like the previous outbreak, most of the victims on this occasion too, were bar-headed geese, while the dead birds include nine greylag geese as well. Some incidents of deaths of other birds have also been reported from other parts of the state, including Theog in Shimla district and Manali in Kullu district according to PTI. However, the samples of these birds have been taken for testing by the animal husbandry department, and the cause of their death is yet to be ascertained.
Meanwhile the Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary has been closed for visitors, and the bird flu action plan has been activated, which includes surveillance, testing and scientific disposal of dead birds, Sharma told PTI.
The outbreak of bird flu that occurred earlier this year, had spread to as many as 14 states with many states imposing a ban on sale of chickens.