At present avian influenza has caused deaths of hundreds of birds in states of Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh. Meanwhile, deaths of around 10-12 birds sparked bird flue fear in Thane.
However, the samples of carcasses have tested negative for bird flu. Speaking to ANI, Maharashtra Minister for Animal Husbandry Sunil Kedar said that followed by the deaths of the birds in other states, Maharashtra is on alert.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying informed that avian influenza has been reported from the four states including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Kerala at 12 epicentres.
The government had earlier issued an advisory to Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh on January 1 to avoid further spread of the infection.
As per the information received from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, control measures are being taken as per the guidelines of National Action Plan of avian influenza, the Ministry said. On January 5, another advisory was issued to Himachal Pradesh where the state has been advised to take measures so as to avoid further spread of disease to poultry.
As per the report received, Kerala has already initiated control and containment operations from January 5 at epicentres and culling process is in operation, it said.
The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has also set up a control room in the national capital to keep watch on the situation and to take stock on daily basis of preventive and control measures undertaken by State authorities.
The other states were also requested to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality amongst birds and to report immediately to take necessary measures.
The measures suggested to the affected States to contain the disease and prevent further spread as per the action plan on avian influenza include strengthening the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfection of affected areas, proper disposal of dead birds/carcasses, timely collection and submission of samples for confirmation and further surveillance, intensification of surveillance plan as well as the general guidelines for the prevention of disease spread from affected birds to poultry and human.
Coordination with the forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds was also suggested to the States.
Kerala Forest and Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju said that the bird flu spread in the state is due to migratory birds and 37,654 birds have been culled in Alappuzha and 7,229 birds in Kottayam districts so far.
In Himachal Pradesh's Solan, around 500 chickens were found dead earlier today. The samples were sent to test for bird flu, the state Department of Animal Husbandry said.
Himachal Pradesh Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania had informed that 2,403 birds have died so far.
"We expect that this number will grow. We are on high alert and monitoring the situation very carefully: on the outbreak of bird flu in the state," he said on Tuesday.
Over 1,700 migratory birds have died of suspected bird flu in the Kangra district's Pong Dam area.
"Many birds were found dead last week and their samples were sent to laboratories in Bareily and Bhopal. Yesterday we got confirmation that it's Avian flu. Almost 4 sub-divisions are sealed. We have banned the sale of egg, meat, poultry and fisheries in that area," said Rakesh Kr Prajapati, Kangra District Collector.
Over 50 birds including crows and pigeons have died in Rajasthan's Baran. "Samples of the birds have been sent to a lab in Bhopal for the test," Baran Additional District Magistrate Mohammed Abubakr said.
Telangana Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas confirmed that there are no signs of bird flu in the state.
"There are no signs of bird flu in the state. Teams of 1300 officers are regularly conducting medical examinations. The spread of bird flu is unlikely due to precautionary measures taken by Animal Husbandry Dept. People need not worry," he said.
Earlier in the day, Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Giriraj Singh said that migratory birds reason behind the spread of bird flu in the country.
Avian influenza (AI) viruses have been circulating worldwide for centuries with four known major outbreaks recorded in the last century. India notified the first outbreak of avian influenza in 2006.
According to the Ministry, infection in humans is not yet reported in India though the disease is zoonotic.
There is no direct evidence that AI viruses can be transmitted to humans via the consumption of contaminated poultry products, it said.
(With inputs from ANI)