The Maharashtra government on Thursday informed that a total of 331 poultry birds were found dead in the state during the day. Out of this, 47 deaths were reported in Latur, 25 in Gondia, 86 in Chandrapur, 110 in Nagpur, 10 in Yavatmal, 50 in Satara and three in Raigad.
Apart from poultry birds, mortality was observed in other 44 birds like herons, sparrows, parrots etc. 34 such deaths were reported in Sangli and one each in Amravati and Solapur. Eight peacocks died in Wardha and a total of seven crows were found dead -- one each in Nashik, Yavatmal and Nandurbar, and two each in Pune and Jalgaon district.
Meanwhile, the samples have been sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and Animal Disease Investigation Section in Pune for testing. The results are expected in 48 to 72 hours.
Now, the total number of birds to have died since January 8 has risen to 3,378.
Besides, the results of the examination of the previously sent samples have been received. 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.
Accordingly, the area is being declared as an "Infected Area" and action is being taken to enforce the prescribed preventive measures. As per these measures, all of the poultry birds within 1 km radius of the infected poultry farm have been ordered to be culled. 3,443 birds in Parbhani's Muramba and 11,092 birds in Latur's Ahmedpur and Udgir have been culled so far. Whereas, in Mumbai, Ghodbander (Thane district), Dapoli and Beed, only surveillance will be continued, said the government.
Moreover, the Western Region Disease Diagnosis Laboratory has received 66 samples, out of which results for 44 samples have been declared and results of 22 samples are awaited. Out of the 44 declared results, eight poultry samples from Parbhani, Latur, Beed and Nanded districts have been confirmed for H5 strain of bird flu; whereas 13 poultry samples from Akola, Amravati, Ahmednagar, Pune and Solapur have been tested negative for bird flu. Nine crow samples from Mumbai, Beed, Thane, Ratnagiri, Nashik and Nanded have tested positive for bird flu; whereas one crow sample from Chandrapur has tested negative. Ten samples from other birds like herons, parrots, sparrows etc. from Parbhani, Latur, Thane, Nashik and Ahmednagar districts have tested positive, whereas samples from Gondia, Nagpur, Nashik, Yavatmal and Satara have tested negative.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government 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.
On Tuesday, the Maharashtra government has issued an advisory and 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 off 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," the government added.
The government further added that its safe to eat eggs and poultry meat, if the eggs and poultry meat are cooked for 30 minutes at 70 degrees Celcius.