Over 164 crows have died in Indore after being infected by H5N8 virus (a strain of avian influenza) commonly known as bird flu, since the pathogen was first detected here a week back, said deputy director of veterinary department Dr PK Sharma on Tuesday.
Sharma said that as per official records 164 crows have died due to H5N8 virus in the last eight days.
So far, the deadly avian influenza has not been found in any other bird species apart from crows here, he said.
Putting the administration on high alert, nearly 400 crows were found dead in 10 districts of Madhya Pradesh so far, confirming the spread of bird flu in the state.
The presence of the H5N8 sub-type of the Influenza A virus was reported in dead crows found in Indore, Agar-Malwa and Mandsaur districts.
Director of Madhya Pradesh Animal Husbandry Department Dr RK Rokade said that the bird flu has only spread in crows; chickens are still safe from the virus.
Reports of the deaths of crows from Indore, Mandsaur, Agar-Malwa, Khargone, Sehore, Dewas, Ujjain, Neemuch and Guna has come into the light, where nearly 400 crows have been found dead, the official said.
Over 500 samples collected in Indore for testing
"Samples from 120 hens and roosters from the area and 30 migratory birds from Sirpur Lake have been sent to a laboratory in Bhopal to check for bird flu. The reports are awaited," Sharma informed.
Overall over 500 samples from Indore district have been collected for testing bird flu. The samples have been collected from various stores and poultry farms, other than wetlands.
Bird Flu spread in the state
On Monday, an MP Public Relations Department official said from December 23 to January 3, the state witnessed deaths of 164 crows in Indore, 100 in Mandsaur, 112 in Agar-Malwa, 13 in Khargone and nine in Sehore district.
Their samples have been sent to a laboratory in Bhopal for analysis and to determine the cause of death.
It is noted that bird flu is airborne and there is no vaccine for it, he added.
The presence of bird flu was first detected in the city on December 29, when about 50 crows were found dead in Daly College campus of the Residency area, and tests run on two of the carcasses confirmed the presence of the pathogen.
Control room for rapid response in Indore
A bird flu alert was sounded in Madhya Pradesh after the presence of the bird flu virus was found in dead crows in Indore and more avian deaths were reported in other districts, said officials on Monday.
Animal Husbandry Minister Prem Singh Patel said the state's Rapid Response Team is setting up a control room in Indore, where avian influenza (bird flu) has been detected in the samples of dead crows.