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Bird deaths reported from three more states

Bird deaths reported from three more states

Bird deaths have been reported from three more states-Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Odisha- raising fears that avian influenza may be spreading wider across the country. A high alert was sounded in UP after several crows were found dead in Sonbhadra on Wednesday.

Samples have been sent to ascertain whether they died of the H5N8 virus. In Punjab, four crows and a crane were found dead in Gurdaspur district on Thursday. In neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, which has been hit by bird flu, another 355 migratory birds were found dead in the Pong dam lake area in Kangra district on Thursday, taking the number of dead migratory birds to 3,410. In Odisha, nearly 120 poultry birds were found dead in Khurda district on Thursday.

However, none of them tested positive for the virus, claimed director of fisheries and animal resources department Ratnakar Rout. Ten crows died in Haryana’s Jind district on Wednesday. “We have formed teams at block level to study the situation closely,” said Ravinder Hooda, deputy director of state animal husbandry and dairying department.

Since December 5, hundreds of poultry birds were earlier reported dead from Raipur Rani in the state. The authorities have confirmed that so far no avian flu symptoms have been found among the birds. However, the officials are awaiting the lab reports from Jalandhar. Meanwhile. a team of the Central government surveyed the avian flu-affected areas of Alappuzha in Kerala on Thursday to assess the situation after the outbreak of the H5N8 virus.

The three-member central team visited the bird flu-affected Karuvatta, Pallippad and Thakazhi areas in Kerala and inspected the culling of birds. It will submit a report on the spread of the bird flu, the structure of the virus and whether the culling methods meet the central guidelines. The team is also studying the public health risk of H5N8. Kerala’s Minister for Forest, Animal husbandry and Dairy development K Raju had earlier stated that as many as 12,000 ducks had died and about 40,000 birds will be culled in the region where bird flu has been reported.

Kerala is the worst affected among the four states where bird flu has been confirmed after bird samples tested positive. The other three states are Himachal, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In Gujarat, nearly 53 dead birds were found in the Batwa area of Junagarh district on 3 January. A team of forest officials reached the spot and sent the carcasses for post-mortem.

In Rajasthan, another 375 birds were found dead on Thursday, higher than the 297 fatalities that were reported a day before. Meanwhile, the Karnataka government put its districts bordering Kerala on high alert on Thursday over supply of poultry products after six crows were found dead in Dakshina Kannada district on Tuesday.

“We have sent the samples for tests,” health minister K Sudhakar said. The central government has also launched a drive to identify those with suspected flu symptoms in those areas. Amid the scare, the state governments, as a protocol, have imposed prohibitory orders in parts where bird flu deaths are being recorded. The sale of poultry and eggs has also been banned in these areas.