Bird flu cases were confirmed in Haryana and Gujarat on Friday, in addition to Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana where the disease has already been confirmed. Further, at least 16 unusual bird deaths in parts of Delhi are also being investigated, according to a statement from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
The Ministry said it is also taking steps to restore consumer confidence in poultry products such as eggs and chicken meat, enlisting the support of the Health Ministry in this regard.
Positive samples for avian influenza were confirmed from two poultry farms in Haryana’s Panchkula district, as well as among migratory birds in Gujarat’s Junagadh district. Positive samples were also reported among crows in four districts of Rajasthan.
“Unusual mortality of 16 birds has also been reported in DDA park Hastsal Village, Delhi. The AH (animal husbandry) Department of NCT of Delhi has reportedly taken precautionary measures and sent samples to ICAR-NIHSAD and a test report is awaited,” the statement said.
Affected States have been directed to follow the avian influenza action plan to contain the disease. Culling operations have been completed in both affected districts in Kerala, and the disinfection process is underway. Central teams have been dispatched to Kerala, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for monitoring and epidemiological investigation, said the statement.
Unaffected States have been requested to keep a look out for and immediately report unusual bird mortality, so containment measures can be implemented quickly. In the Delhi cases, samples have been sent to ICAR-NIHSAD for testing.
“Awareness among poultry farmers and the general public (consumers of eggs and chicken) about the disease is of foremost importance,” said the statement, adding that the Animal Husbandry Secretary has written to the Health Ministry on the issue.
“Appropriate advisories have been requested to be issued from the Health Ministry in this regard so that consumer confidence affected by rumors is put to rest. Also, States have been requested to increase awareness regarding safety of poultry or poultry products that were safe for consumption following boiling or cooking procedures,” it added.