700 Birds To Be Culled Following Bird Flu Scare

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Animal Husbandry Department on Tuesday decided to cull around 700 birds kept at an animal care centre near the city after some of the Guinea fowls brought to Ahmedabad from Mumbai were found to be infected with Avian Influenza, commonly known as Bird flu.

The animal care centre is run by a city based NGO ‘Asha Foundation’ at Hathijan village on the outskirts of city.

Adhering to Centre’s guidelines to control Bird flu from spreading further, authorities have sealed the premises and declared the 1-km area surrounding the centre as ‘Affected Zone’ while 10-km area has been declared as ‘Alert Zone’, said a release by the state government.

With this order, people are barred from taking out any bird, eggs or any poultry product or machinery outside the affected region.

According to deputy director of district Animal Husbandry Department, R N Patel, the process of sanitising the area and culling around 700 birds kept in the centre has been initiated this evening to control the avian influenza virus(H5N1) from spreading further.

“We found symptoms of Bird flu in 7 Guinea fowls, which had died under mysterious circumstances few days back. They were among 200 such birds which were rescued in Mumbai and then sent to Asha Foundation on December 28. Laboratory tests confirmed that all of them had died due to Bird flu,” said Patel, who reached the spot today to supervise culling.

Apart from 200-odd Guinea fowls brought here from Mumbai, around 550 Guinea fowls were also kept here by the authorities after they were rescued yesterday.

“Out of around 800 Guinea fowls which were rescued yesterday on the outskirts of city, when they were being off-loaded by a truck driver near Vastral area, we have kept 550 of them at Asha Foundation while other birds were sent to another NGO,” said Patel.

On the suspicion of having bird flu, veterinary doctors had taken blood samples from some of the birds rescued yesterday and sent it to a laboratory in Bhopal, said Patel.

According to Patel, these 550 Guinea fowls will have to be culled, irrespective of the outcome of the test results, which has not come yet.

“Since these birds were kept with infected Guinea fowls at the centre, we have to cull them too. We have to cull all the birds which are kept at the centre. Bird flu can spread and infect humans as well,” said Patel.

According to him, there are no Guinea fowl farms in Gujarat. However, such farms are flourishing in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, as people are considering Guinea fowls as an alternative to chicken.