Bird Flu in Rajasthan | A bird flu alert has been sounded in Rajasthan after the presence of the dreaded virus was confirmed in dead crows in Jhalawar and more avian deaths were reported in other districts, including Jaipur. Kunji Lal Meena, principal secretary, animal husbandry, said that so far, 252 crows were found dead across the State including 100 in Jhalawar, 72 in Baran, 47 in Kota, 19 in Pali and 7 each in Jodhpur and Jaipur.
Bird flu scare has taken over the country as hundreds of birds across the states of Kerala, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh have dropped dead. And now, according to reports, Kerala has confirmed the return of the virus H5N8. Hundreds of crows have died in Rajasthan prompting authorities to sound a bird flu alert in the state. The dreaded virus was confirmed in dead crows in the Jhalawar district and many other cities, including Jaipur, officials said.
The bird deaths began from December 25 in Jhalawar, some 340km from state capital Jaipur. Most deaths have been reported among crows, with most of them from Kota and Jodhpur. On Sunday, seven crows were found dead at the iconic Jal Mahal in the capital, taking the total deaths to 252 in the state.
So far, the death of 100 crows has been reported from Jhalawar, 72 from Baran, 47 from Kota, 19 from Pali and seven from Jodhpur and Jaipur each. The samples were sent to National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal where the deadly virus was detected.
A team was sent to Jhalawar and 1km of the district’s Balaji area was cordoned off and Section 144 imposed. Carcasses of the birds were being disposed of carefully in pits in the area – which was then sanitised carefully. The team took all precautions and wore safety gear.
The State authorities had sent samples to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, where avian influenza was confirmed. Consequently, the Animal Husbandry Department has set up a state-level control room and sent its teams to the districts for effective monitoring. Additionally, the samples taken from Jodhpur, Kota, Baran and Jaipur are being sent to Bhopal for confirmation of avian influenza.
Department Secretary Arushi Malik said the centre’s guidelines are being followed and an alert has been sounded in all districts. The department has asked poultry farms to report the cause of deaths in birds to the local department officers on a daily basis.
Chief wildlife warden, ML Meena, said the department has sounded an alert and field staff is asked to be more vigilant. The Avian Influenza has been confirmed only in Jhalawar but directions have been issued to track water bodies and suspicious deaths of birds.
Department additional director, Bhawani Rathore said, “The situation is not alarming but we are vigilant, ensuring that this virus does not enter domestic animals. The guidelines are followed and dead animals are buried.”
As per the officials “the virus is dangerous and necessary guidelines have been issued. All field officers and poultry farm owners have been asked to remain vigilant. Effective monitoring is ensured at all sites, especially in wetlands, Sambhar Lake and Kaila Devi bird sanctuary”. The bird flu (Avian Influenza) caused by the virus H5N1 is contagious and fatal.
Authorities are on high alert after the bird flu situation in the country took a turn for the worse. Bird flu virus was detected in dead crows found in Rajasthan three days ago, said civic health officials. The virus has also been found in dead crows in Indore. The Centre has issued an alert to states, saying that samples need to be collected from areas where the deaths have occurred. Kerala has also been impacted by the virus. So far, the virus has been been constrained to the areas of Alappuzha and Kottayam. As many as 36,000 birds would be culled in the states. As many as 12,000 ducks have died already in Kerala. In Himachal Pradesh too, over 1,800 waterbirds have died.
Authorities have also launched a drive to identify people with suspected bird flu symptoms. Survey is being conducted to trace people with cold, cough and fever in the radius of 5 km of the Daly College in Indore. Suspected patients’ swab samples will be tested.