Mumbai: Hours after the Centre confirmed the outbreak of bird flu in Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat, Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Development Minister Sunil Kedar has banned the transportation and sale of hens from neighbouring Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Kedar made it clear that the move was a precautionary measure, to avoid bird flu infection in Maharashtra.
Kedar said that no bird flu deaths had been reported in the state,so far. He further noted that the government had not curbed the sale of hens and eggs in the state. He has appealed to citizens not to panic and avoid spreading rumours and misinformation.
The Department of Animal Husbandry said in a release that three crows in Mumbai, 15 egrets and 2 parrots in Thane, 800 hens at a poultry farm in Parbhani, 6 crows at Dapoli and 11 crows in Beed had been found dead. Samples have been sent for tests and the reports are expected in the next 48 to 72 hours.
The Union government has asked the states and Union Territories to strengthen the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfect the affected areas, properly dispose the dead birds and submit samples for further surveillance. States have been requested to be prepared for any eventuality of Avian Influenza and ensure sufficient stock of personal protective equipment, kits and accessories required for culling operations.
Infections have been reported mostly from four states -- Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Kerala has already started culling birds.