Haryana confirms presence of H5N8 avian flu in poultry

Four lakh birds have died in poultry farms of Panchkula district in the past one month

The Haryana government on Friday confirmed the presence of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza in poultry samples from dairy farms in the State’s Panchkula district and has announced culling of over 1.6 lakh poultry birds, that is, chickens.

Haryana Animal Husbandry Minister J. P. Dalal said that after the unusual death of birds in poultry farms of Panchkula district, investigations were conducted and it came to light that around 4 lakh birds had died in the poultry farms of the area in the last one month.

“Samples from these dead birds were initially sent to the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL) in Jalandhar. However, due to a delay in the report, the samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, for examination. As per the report received, it has been confirmed that birds from two poultry farms were infected with avian influenza (H5N8),” he said.

Mr. Dalal said the government had declared the area within a radius of 1 km from the two poultry farms as an “infected zone”, and the area covering a radius of 1 km to 10 km from the two farms as a “surveillance zone”.

“Adhering to guidelines, 1,66,128 birds from five poultry farms which fall within the periphery of a 1-km radius from the two infected farms will be culled under the supervision of experts to prevent further spread of the disease, and poultry farm owners will be given compensation for the same,” he said.

Himachal monitoring

In neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, avian influenza (H5N1) has led to the death of over 3,400 migratory birds so far in the Pong Dam sanctuary area in the State’s Kangra district.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the State government was alert and active in tackling the bird flu situation.

“Till date, about 3,410 migratory birds have died of bird flu. These birds are being buried as per the protocol, to prevent the spread of the virus. Sixty-five teams from the animal husbandry and wildlife wings were regularly monitoring the Pong Dam sanctuary and its adjoining areas. Keeping in view the intensity of the bird flu epidemic, samples of poultry have been sent to RDDL, Jalandhar, for testing, he said.

Mr. Thakur was presiding over a review meeting for the control of bird flu with members of the district administration, and the animal husbandry and wildlife departments in Dharamshala.

“Monitoring of Pong Dam and adjoining areas is being ensured and quick reaction teams have also been constituted,” he added.

Senior leaders of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Party visited the Pong Dam area to take stock of the situation and meet locals. Party leader Kewal Singh Pathania said they interacted with local elected representatives to gauge the gravity of the prevailing situation. “We will submit a report based on our interaction to the State Congress president Kuldeep Singh Rathore and the State government on this issue. We observed that the situation was grim and people are anxious. The State government needs to take immediate steps to ease people’s concerns,” said Mr. Pathania.

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