Bird flu scare: Centre asks states, UTs to increase surveillance

New Delhi: The Centre has directed states and union territories across the country to increase surveillance around water bodies, live bird markets, zoos, and poultry farms as well as strengthen biosecurity at poultry farms amid the bird flu scare.

The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said in a statement on Sunday that the states and UTs have been asked to increase public awareness and prevent the spread of misinformation on the avian influenza or bird flu.

The states and UTs have also been requested to ensure proper disposal of animal/bird carcasses, the statement added.

After the confirmation of avian influenza in samples taken from poultry from two farms in Panchkula district of Haryana, the state had deployed nine rapid response teams and undertaken control and containment operations at both the places, the Ministry added.

Samples of crows/wild birds had confirmed avian influenza (H5) in Surat district of Gujarat as well as Sirohi district in Rajasthan. Further, reports of unusual deaths of 86 crows and 2 egrets were received from Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh.

Reports of unusual mortality of wild birds was also received from Nahan, Bilaspur and Mandi in Himachal and the samples sent to a designated laboratory for testing, the Ministry said.

Advisories have since been issued to the affected states to prevent further spread of the avian disease. So far, the disease has been confirmed from Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.

“The test reports of samples sent to the designated laboratory from Delhi and Maharashtra are still awaited. Further, no samples have been confirmed positive for avian flu in wild birds from Balod district in Chhattisgarh,” it added.

The control and containment operation has been completed in two affected districts of Kerala and post-operational surveillance programme guidelines issued to the southern state.

The central teams formed to monitor the situation are visiting the affected areas across the country.

One of the central teams visited Kerala on January 9 and is monitoring the epicentre spots and also conducting epidemiological investigations. Another central team visited Himachal on January 10 and undertook a survey in the affected areas.