Bird flu outbreak in Chilka lake

The Odisha government has asked the local administration of three districts, two in the coastal region and one in the southern zone, to remain in high alert after a confirmed case of bird flu was detected in Chilka lake which houses one of the topmost winter homes for migratory birds in the country.

The nearly 1100 sq km in size brackish water lagoon, spreads over these three districts of Khurda, Puri and Ganjam. “Last month we had sent blood samples of eight migratory birds for tests in a laboratory outside the state and one of them has been confirmed as a positive case of bird flu. Therefore, the three districts which are having direct links with Chilka lake have been put on high alert”, said an official in the wildlife division of the state forest department.

Official sources said, a team of experts had been sent to the famous water body on Sunday and they had collected blood samples of some more migratory birds besides a few birds from the poultry farms in the villages in and around the lake. They would be sent for laboratory test soon. The news of the bird flu outbreak has triggered panic in the entire coastal belt primarily because the state had been hit hard by the dreaded avian flu last year. The areas which were affected included capital Bhubaneswar.

   However, the state fisheries and animal husbandry department has advised the people not to panic. The department has already formed a rapid action team to handle the situation. Moreover, as the temperature is getting warmer by every passing day in the state, the possibility of the spread of the disease is very less. The migratory birds in the Chilka lake have already begun their homeward journey which may also help the authorities to handle the situation better . This winter, nearly 8.9 lakh winged visitors had made the Odisha lake their temporary abode. There are about five lakh birds still present in the lake.

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