Representational Image
Representational Image

In a press note issued regarding the ongoing bird flu menace, the Maharashtra government on Monday (January 18) informed that a total of 829 birds, including 699 poultry, were found dead in the state till 5:30 PM on Sunday (January 17).

Apart from poultry birds, mortality was observed in 63 other birds like herons, sparrows, parrots etc. In addition, a total of 67 crows have died.

Meanwhile, the samples have been sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and Disease Investigation Section in Pune for testing.

Now, the total number of birds to have died since January 8 has risen to 6,816.

Besides, the results of the examination of the previously sent samples were received last week. The samples from Mumbai, Ghodbander (Thane district) and Dapoli for crows & herons and samples of poultry farm from Muramba (Tal.Parbhani) have been found positive for (H5N1 strain) and samples of crows from Beed district have been found positive for H5N8 strain.

Some of the samples from poultry birds have been found positive for the bird flu.

"These include Kupta taluka Selu and Pedgaon in Parbhani district, Tondar Vanjarwadi, Tq. Udgir and Kurdwadi taluka Ausa in Latur district, Papalwadi tq. Mahur and Navandyachiwadi tal. Kandhar, in Nanded district; Chande Tq. Mulshi and Beribe tal. Daund in Pune district; Mangalvedha in Solapur district, Lokhandi Savargaon in Beed district, Shrigonda in Ahmednagar district, Pen in Raigad district," the press note read.

Thus, positive reports for avian influenza have been confirmed from seven districts of the state in poultry birds. The poultry birds' samples from Amravati and Akola have been reported negative for avian influenza.

Accordingly, the government has initiated the process of declaring "Infected Areas" and action is being taken to enforce the prescribed preventive measures.

As per these measures, poultry birds within 1 km radius of the infected poultry farm have been ordered to be culled. Approximately 3,443 birds in Parbhani, Muramba, 11,064 birds in Kendrewadi, Ahmedpur, and 28 birds in Sukani, Udgir have been culled so far.

Culling procedure has also been completed in infected farms at several regions, including Kupta taluka Selu, Kurdwadi taluka, and Navandyachiwadi in Nanded.

The area is also disinfected at all the affected places.

Whereas, at places where positive results have been reported in other species of birds excluding poultry, only surveillance work will be continued, said the government.

Moreover, a central team arrived in Maharashtra on Sunday to monitor the activities undertaken in the bird flu-affected areas.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government, under the Prevention And Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, has conferred all its powers on all the district collectors within their local jurisdiction to declare an area as "Alert Zone".

The district collectors can declare an area as "Alert Zone" to ensure necessary precautions and preventive measures in case of mortality in poultry birds, suspected to have died of bird flu.

The Maharashtra government has also directed the owners of poultry farms and general public to immediately intimate mortality in crows, parrots, herons or in migratory birds in any village or of any unusual mortality of poultry birds in commercial farms as well as backyard poultry to the nearest veterinary dispensary.

The intimation can also be given toll free no. 18002330418.

"It is advised that the dead birds should not be touched with bare hands and post mortem of such dead birds should not be conducted. The birds should not be disposed of without intimation to the local veterinarian," the government said.

"As per the provisions under Section(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases of Animals Act, 2009, every owner, or any other person, non-governmental organization, public bodies or village panchayat, in-charge or any animal which he or it has a reason to believe to be infective of a scheduled disease shall report the fact to the village officer or village panchayat in-charge, who may report the same in writing to the available veterinarian. Everyone in the state needs to take these precautions as mentioned above,for containment of the outbreak at the place of occurrence and to prevent the further spread of the disease," the government added.

The government further added that it is "completely safe" to eat boiled eggs and properly cooked poultry meat, if the dishes are cooked for 30 minutes at 70 degrees Celcius.

"It is appealed to the citizens that they should not consume raw, half cooked poultry meat or eggs. The chicken shop proprietors are strictly directed to use gloves, mask covering mouth and nose, stringent hygiene practices in the shop and to maintain social physical distancing norms. It is also urged not to spread misconceptions and rumors based on unscientific information about bird flu," the press note added.

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