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Avian flu threat: watch on migratory birds

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A vendor at a chicken market in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
A vendor at a chicken market in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.

Staff Reporter

Blood samples of dead birds found in Chilika lake being sent for lab analysis

Bombay Natural History Society provides expert help to keep watch

So far, dysentery and exhaustion two major causes of death of birds

BERHAMPUR: Alarmed by the reports of bird flu infection in adjoining West Bengal extra watch is being kept on the health of migratory birds that have arrived in the Chilika lake.

It may be noted that the State Government has already banned import of poultry and related products from neighbouring states and all district administrations have been cautioned against letting any poultry products from avian flu-infected areas enter their region. The Forest Department has been instructed to have extensive surveillance at the Chilika lake where lakhs of migratory birds have arrived.

According to CEO of Chilika Development Authority (CDA), Sudarsan Panda, the re-emergence of avian flu in eastern region has made the authorities extra vigilant about possibility of bird flu-affected migratory birds in the Chilika lake this winter. The blood samples of dead birds found in the lake area are being collected to be sent to High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory, Bhopal.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has provided expert help to keep watch on bird flu infection among migratory birds in the lake. The CDA staff, forest and veterinary officials of the area have been trained for preparedness to fight bird flu by taking necessary measures to avoid infection while handling sick birds showing symptoms of suspected avian flu infection.

Special rescue units

Special veterinary medical rescue units for ailing birds are also operating inside the Nalabana bird sanctuary, one of the major perching areas of migratory birds inside the lake, said the CDA authorities. The birds showing symptoms of illness are brought to these rescue centres. Apart from their treatment their blood samples are collected. These samples are sent for testing for possibility of avian flu infection.

Till now it has been found that dysentery and exhaustion are the two major causes of death of migratory birds that arrive in the lake. Last year the blood samples collected from dead migratory birds found inside the lake did not show any signs of bird flu infection. It was found that some birds die due to the extreme fatigue caused by their long flight to reach the lake and some of them die of dysentery caused by food infection.


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