UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA - More than 750 birds - chicken, ducks and pigeons - were culled in the district of Amethi on 15 March following the confirmation of highly pathogenic avian flu outbreak.
Alarmed over the situation, state government issued avian flu alert across Uttar Pradesh (UP) and rolled out a containment plan, reports Times of India. Chief secretary Alok Ranjan has ordered culling of birds in the wake of the outbreak as and when needed. The government has issued orders to hold disinfection activities wherever birds were killed.
Amethi district magistrate, Jagat Raj, told the newspaper that nine rapid response teams were currently culling birds and burying them in order to contain the spread of avian flu which can also spread to humans.
"These operations are being conducted over night to minimise the exposure to people," he said, admitting that more culling was on cards. "As many as 72 pigeons are on the radar for culling. They would be eliminated the moment they are caught," he added, further admitting that depending upon the situation, the numbers may increase.
Between 6 and 7 March, more than 350 chickens and ducks died mysteriously in villages of Shuklaganj area of the district. The incident shocked the residents who could not figure out the cause of death.
Two days later, local veterinary department team gathered samples and sent them for confirmation of bird flu to the government lab. On 13 March, the lab report confirmed the presence of a highly pathogenic avian flu virus in Amethi, triggering a swift reaction from the government.
District veterinary officer, Dr Vinod Kumar, claimed that so far, only a limited area search had been conducted in which two villages were found to be infected and surveys were on to take a stock of number of birds in each village. Residents of Shuklaganj claimed that dogs and crows who consumed the dead bird also died.
"First the hens died and then the dogs which ate them were killed. The situation is scary," admitted Inamuddin, a villager, told Times of India. Poultry farms in the district are also being surveyed.
The government has also ordered setting up of a 24-hour helpline to resolve people's queries about the disease.
You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.
ThePoultrySite News Desk