Bird flu confirmed in district 180km from Bhopal in MP

Bird flu confirmed in district 180km from Bhopal in MP

Samples of as many as 48 dead crows in Agar Malwa over the past four days tested, neighbouring districts on alert

Representative picture. Credit: Reuters Photo

The presence of the H5N8 virus (bird flu) was confirmed after at least 48 crows were found dead in Agar Malwa district of Madhya Pradesh, a senior official said on Tuesday. These crows had died in the past four days in Agar Malwa, located 180 kilometres from the state capital Bhopal.

“We had sent the samples of the dead crows for a laboratory test. The examination of these samples confirmed the presence of H5N8 virus (a variant of avian influenza or bird flu),” Agar Malwa district collector Avdhesh Sharma told reporters.

“We have taken the samples of poultry. Officials of the departments concerned have been directed to follow the guidelines (of the Union Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying),” the collector said.

He said it was suggested in a meeting that markets selling mutton in the Agar Malwa district be closed as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of avian influenza.

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Another official said that after the mass death of crows, the samples were sent to the Bhopal-based National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD).

A district-level control room, headed by deputy director, Animal Husbandry Department, Dr SV Kosarwal, was also set up and people were asked to inform about the death of birds immediately, the official said.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary, MP Animal Husbandry and Dairy Department, JN Kansotiya, issued directives to the districts, especially the bordering ones, to monitor the situation and immediately attend to any complaint related to the unnatural death of birds. “Migratory birds play a major role in spreading bird flu during the winter. Therefore, keep a special watch on the migratory birds coming to the water bodies and sanctuaries of the state,” Kansotiya said.

He directed officials to collect the samples of migratory birds and from the chicken markets in the districts bordering other states and send them to the laboratory for testing. H5N8 is a subtype of the influenza A virus and is believed to be highly lethal to wild birds and poultry.

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