Bird flu in Maharashtra: Rapid response teams sent to affected districts

Maharashtra, one of the states with high COVID-19 cases and deaths, is now the eight state where bird flu has been detected. Since January 7, 1,621 birds, comprising 843 hens, 63 egrets, parrots and sparrows, and 30 crows, have been found dead. The samples of the dead birds were sent to the ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Disease, Bhopal, which tested positive for H5NI avian influenza in Mumbai, Thane, Beed and Dapoli.

After 843 hens died at a poultry farm in Murumba, Parbhani, the district administration has decided to cull 5,550 hens in the 1 km radius from Tuesday onwards. The area from 1 km to 10 km has been declared as a surveillance zone in Parbhani, Mumbai, Thane, Beed and Dapoli.

Anil Husbandry Secretary Anoop Kumar told the Free Press Journal, “After Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, Maharashtra is the eight state affected by the bird flu. The rapid response teams have been deployed in the districts. District collectors have been asked to increase vigil on migratory birds. In Parbhani, the district collector has been asked to take precaution to ensure the hens that died are not consumed.”

Kumar said that the citizens have been urged not to panic. He also called upon citizens to eat boiled chicken and eggs. “The possibility of bird flu transmission from birds to human beings is less. Chicken shop owners have been asked to use gloves, masks and aprons,” he noted.

Parbhani Collector Deepak Muglikar said hens died at a poultry farm run by a Self-Help Group (SHG). “The cause of the death has been confirmed as bird flu. Hence, we have decided to cull all the birds in a 1-km radius of the place where these deaths took place,” he added.

“We have created a prohibited zone in the 10 km radius of the area where the birds died,” Muglikar said. “No birds will be transported from there to any other place. Our medical team is stationed there and it is examining all the people of the village,” he noted.

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