Bird flu in Thane, Maharashtra asks industry to remain calm

Culling of birds underway; 1 km radius area declared contagious

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | February 19, 2022 | Mumbai


#Bird flu   #avian influenza   #Maharashtra   #public health  
(Photo courtesy: WikiMedia/Creative Commons)
(Photo courtesy: WikiMedia/Creative Commons)

With more than 300 chickens found dead at a poultry farm in Vehloli village of Shahapur tehsil in Thane district, authorities have declared area within 1 km radius as contagious.

As many as 300 chickens and 9 ducks were found dead in poultry after the samples were sent to National Institute of High Security Veterinary Medicine at Bhopal for testing. Later the central government on February 17 confirmed that they have tested positive for Avian Influenza (H5N1 strain). A team from the Animal Husbandry Investigation Department has now been sent to Shahapur to monitor the process of scientific extermination and disinfection of birds. Samples have also been sent to a lab in Pune.

“About 300 birds have died there. Our team visited the spot. Samples were taken. The area has been cordoned off and sealed. As a precautionary measure we are taking every step to stop the spread of bird flu in other parts. The government will take precautions and losses incurred by poultry farmers in Thane will be compensated by the government,” state animal husbandry minister Sunil Kedar was quoted as saying in Ratnagiri.

Thane district collector Rajesh Narvekar declared the area as "infected area" and enforced preventive measures and restrictions. In accordance with these restrictions action has been taken to eradicate all poultry within a radius of 1 km from the place where the bird flu outbreak was detected at Vehloli. He has assured that there was no cause for concern in other parts of the district in Maharashtra.

As many as 23,428 chickens,1,603 eggs, 3,800 kg of food and 100 kg of shell grits have so far been destroyed within 1 km radius of  the affected area. As per the district administration around 25,000 birds falling in a kilometre radius of the affected poultry farm will be killed over the next few days.
With the process of culling underway, as per reports 7,962 layer birds, 20 ducks, 980 eggs, litter feed etc have also been destroyed.  

The Commissionerate of Animal Husbandry has launched a toll-free number (18002330418) and a call center number (1962), and directed field authorities in all districts to remain vigilant and keep a close watch. Poultry owners as well as the general public are advised to report to the nearest veterinary clinic immediately if crows, parrots, herons or migratory birds are found dead in any of the villages in the state or if unusual numbers of birds are found dead in commercial poultry farm birds. People have been advised to cook eggs and poultry for 30 minutes at 70 degree centigrade so that virus is inactivated and it is safe to eat.    

Avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds, especially ducks and geese. The virus is transmitted to poultry through feathers or feces by wild birds who do not exhibit any symptoms.  

The government has advised against touching, necropsy or disposing of dead birds. Under Section 4 (1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Infectious Diseases of Animals Act, 2009, every livestock keeper or any other person in the state, non-governmental organisation, public body or Gram Panchayat should mandatorily give this information to the nearest village officer or Gram Panchayat in-charge and give the information in writing to the nearest available veterinarian.

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