No bird flu cases reported in Maharashtra

Amidst the bird flu cases reported in Rajasthan, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the Department of Animal Husbandry has urged poultry farmers and egg and meat eaters in Maharashtra not to panic. The department has said that the bird flu has not been detected in wild and migratory birds, crows and hens. However, it has urged the poultry farmers and members of public to report to nearby veterinary hospitals if they detect such animals with symptoms.

The department officer said, “The outbreak of bird flu has been reported in migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. A duck with two stripes on its head has been found dead in the Pang Dam area of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh, migrating from Siberia and Mongolia. National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NISHAD), Bhopal has been diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of bird flu as the cause of death. The Forest Department of the state of Himachal Pradesh has undertaken a large scale survey of the disease in the vicinity of Panthal land.” Further, he added that crows have also been found dead in Jhalawar and Jodhpur districts of Rajasthan and Indore districts of Madhya Pradesh. The H5N8 strain of bird flu has been diagnosed as the cause of death by the Nishad Institute.

The officer said the department annually conducts the Bird Flu Survey Program to collect samples of bird fluids, faeces and blood samples from different districts of the state for testing. These are tested at the Western Divisional Diagnostic Laboratory, Pune, the top veterinary laboratory for 5 states.

“In the year 2020-21, the institute has tested a total of 1,715 faeces samples, 1,913 blood samples and 1,549 throat fluid samples in the state using advanced technology like RTPCR and ELISA. At the end of the test, all the above samples were found to be negative for bird flu,” the officer said.

The Commissionerate of Animal Husbandry has issued necessary guidelines for conducting more intensive bird flu surveys in migratory wild birds, crows, backyard hens and commercial poultry rearing sites. “So far, wild and migratory birds, crows or hens have not been detected with bird flu, nor has it been found to be fatal. Therefore, poultry and eggs are not to be feared,’’ the officer said.

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