Uddhav instructs district administrations to provide proper information on bird flu

Uddhav Thackeray  

Appealing to people to desist from spreading rumours on H5N1 avian influenza which has been detected in some parts of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday directed the respective district administrations to communicate proper information to the public.

Mr. Thackeray reviewed the bird flu situation along with State Animal Husbandry Minister Sunil Kedar, additional chief secretary Sitaram Kunte, animal husbandry commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh, and other senior officials.

Mr. Singh said that 843 hens had died at a poultry farm in a village in Parbhani district in the last few days owing to the flu, while 15 crows and other birds in Thane and nine crows in Ratnagiri had been reported as H5N1 victims. As many as 11 crows in Beed have been reported as H5N8 bird flu deaths.

He further said that the Animal Husbandry Department had set up a control room on January 7 and was collecting more information on dead birds being reported across the State.

The Chief Minister said that the respective district administrations must provide proper and objective information to citizens in order to preclude rumours and misinformation on bird flu.

Earlier, Mr. Kedar dismissed rumours of any ban on the sale of poultry products like eggs or chicken as of now.

Likewise, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope urged citizens as well as poultry farmers not to panic.

Attempting to assuage fears of bird flu, Mr. Tope said that the incidence of bird flu transmitting to humans was very low.

“Eating chicken does not spread bird flu. One must only ensure that the chicken is properly cooked to avoid the risk of this disease,” he said.

However, expressing concern over the developing situation, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Leader of Opposition (LoP) Devendra Fadnavis said, “This portends to be a serious crisis. More than five States have already been afflicted and now Maharashtra has reported confirmed cases of avian flu. Already, because of the lockdown in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, poultry businesses have been hit hard. Action to minimise damage must be taken promptly while poultry businesses must be given financial aid.”

Earlier, Parbhani district Collector Deepak Muglikar said that he had issued orders for around 8,000 birds to be culled in a one km radius from the place where the deaths occurred.

Avian deaths have been reported from Parbhani, Akola, Beed, Nashik and Jalgaon districts as well, while 60 hens have died at Pathardi in Ahmednagar district. Similarly, authorities in Thane have confirmed the deaths of 51 birds due to avian flu.

“There is a complete ban on the movement of poultry within a 10 km radius of the affected village as well as the selling of poultry in the village. A medical team is already present there according to the standard operating procedures,” Mr. Muglikar said.

Stating that veterinary officers’ teams are visiting every village to ascertain the extent of the spread of the flu, he appealed to farmers not to get scared.

“The instances of transmission from birds to humans is very rare. At the same time, information on the sighting of any dead birds needs to be given immediately to authorities. Farmers and citizens must not conceal any information, but inform authorities at the earliest. They should also desist from handling the dead birds themselves,” the Parbhani Collector said.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:04:45 AM |

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