Bird Flu Detected In HP, MP, Kerala & Rajasthan; Govt Issues Alert
An alert has been sounded in Madhya Pradesh to control the deaths of crows from bird flu in the state.
Avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu has been detected in samples of dead crows sent to the Madhya Pradesh state lab and has been identified as the cause behind the death of hundreds of migratory birds in Himachal Pradesh.
The four states of Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh declared on Tuesday, 5 January that they are on high alert against bird flu.
Around 100 crows died in Mandsaur, MP between 23 December and 3 January. The local medical team has been asked to conduct surveillance within 1 km of the infected area, reported ANI.
Animal Husbandry Minister Prem Singh Patel, according to ANI, said:
“An alert has been sounded in Madhya Pradesh to control the deaths of crows in the state. Between 23 December and 3 January, 142 crows died in Indore, 100 in Mandsaur, 112 in Agar Malwa and 13 crows died in Khargone districts.”
HP On High Alert
Further, with the death toll of migratory water birds rising to 2,401, and almost half of them being endangered bar-headed goose visiting the Pong wetlands, Himachal Pradesh wildlife authorities on Monday said that avian influenza was the cause.
The dead reportedly included a little white-fronted goose that was visiting the Pong wetlands alone for the past three years.
Kerala On High Alert
Meanwhile, in Kerala, as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the virus, as many as 48,000 birds will be culled.
On 5 January, the state issued bird flu as a state-specific disaster alert after confirmed cases in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts, reported Hindustan Times. Over 1,700 ducks died in a Kottayam farm.
Health Minister K Sudhakar directed health officers in border districts of Karnataka to remain vigilant on Tuesday, reported PTI.
The central government has also issued an alert to the states, according to Business Insider, saying that samples need to be collected from areas where bird flu deaths are being reported.
MP On High Alert
The states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, too, are on high alert following the death of hundreds of crows. Around 155 crows have been found dead in Indore, MP and have tested positive for bird flu, reported PTI.
The bird flu can spread to human beings and turn fatal, though such instances are rare.
Some birds, including the bar-headed goose, were also reported to be acting strangely before their deaths.
Chief Conservator Wildlife of Pong wetlands, Upasana Patyal, said, according to IANS:
"When you're seeing that birds are not able to take flight despite healthy wings, it's really disturbing. At some distance, you find their carcasses.”
Alert Issued in Rajasthan
According to IANS, Rajasthan government last week sounded an alert after confirmation of avian influenza in crows that died in Jhalawar district. So far, 425 birds have died in the state.
The mass mortality of poultry birds was reported at one of the largest poultry belts at Barwala near Panchkula in Haryana.
Over the past seven to 10 days, there have been reports of wild birds dying in separate incidents at different locations in the country, reported IANS, citing Bird Count India.
Maharashtra has not reported any cases of bird flu so far according to principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), Nitin Kakodkar, reported PTI.
Multi-Stakeholder Intervention Needed on Priority
That wild birds die is not necessarily worrying. But it is possible that some of these recent deaths are out of the ordinary, with large numbers dying or reports of diagnoses of H5N1 (avian influenza), reported IANS.
According to IANS, at the moment, no one knows whether these are causes of larger concern, but it is worth keeping an eye on the situation.
Experts, according to IANS, warn:
“If you encounter a wild bird that is dead or dying, do not approach it, and under any circumstances do not touch it given the possibility (however small) that it might be infected with avian influenza. H5N1 is a highly contagious virus that can cause severe illness in people.”
(With inputs from PTI, Hindustan Times, IANS, Business Standard and ANI.)
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