Section 144 imposed in Rajasthan town after avian flu outbreak
Section 144 imposed in Rajasthan town after avian flu outbreak

The Jhalawar district administration has imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 in the Radi ke Balaji locality of Jhalawar district after an outbreak of avian flu that has left scores of crows dead.

The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal has confirmed that the deaths were due to avian influenza though they have not yet identified the strain of the virus that caused the flu.

The deaths of the crows have been reported since December 25 from a temple in the Radi ke Balaji locality on the outskirts of Jhalawar town. The temple was shut on Wednesday and police force has been posted outside the temple gates.

A team of experts from the regional diagnostic lab in Kota and a rapid response team set up by the district administration took samples of poultry animals shops and poultry farms in the area on Thursday. The samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal.

Confirming the death of 25 crows, Jhalawar collector Ngikya Gohain said a zero mobility zone has been imposed in a one km radius of the temple and section 144 was clamped on Wednesday night.

He said the centre has been informed of the avian flu outbreak as per the Action Plan 2015 guidelines and a central team could visit the area.

The poultry and egg shops in the Radi area have been shut down. People have been asked not to move out of their homes. The administration has arranged for ration to be delivered to people in their homes.

“If any poultry is found infected then the chickens will be culled and compensation will be given to farmers,” he said.

Dr Vikram Singh, joint director, animal husbandry department, Jhalawar, said, “Sero sampling of the poultry is being done in the area. The affected area has been sanitised and the bodies of the dead birds are being disposed of by burying them in pits and sprinkling sodium hypochlorite on them.”

Gohain said after the death of the crows came to light, the administration sought help from the union animal husbandry ministry for testing of the samples as Jhalawar does not have any testing facility. It was on the advice of the ministry that samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal for testing.

Gohain said the officials suspect that the bird flu has spread from migratory birds that visit Jhalawar in the winter as migratory birds are known to carry avian flu virus.

Meanwhile, deaths of crows were also reported from Chopasani Housing Board area of Jodhpur in the last few days.

The animal husbandry department officials collected samples of the dead crows on Wednesday and sent them for testing to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal. The reports are awaited.

Notably, a large number of migratory birds flock to Jodhpur too during the winter for nesting.

Avian influenza or bird flu is a type of influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds. The avian influenza type A virus is very contagious and can be fatal for birds and domesticated species. It can also spread to humans.

Last year in December, thousands of migratory birds had died at the Sambhar Lake, the largest inland saltwater lake in the country, near Jaipur due to avian botulism.

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Free Press Journal