Bird flu alert: More samples from birds sent for tests in Gujarat


With over 60 crow carcasses found in South and Central Gujarat on Thursday and Friday, the Animal Diseases Investigation Office (ADIO) of Vadodara and Surat have picked samples of local birds in view of the recent avian flu outbreak. While the ADIO Vadodara has collected a total of 450 samples from the city, animal husbandry departments in Surat and Navsari are probing the cause of death of the birds from corvid family.

In Vadodara, the ADIO has collected close to 450 samples, including those of migratory birds from Vadhwana lake near Dabhoi as well as Sayajibaug zoo in the city. On Thursday evening, 25 carcasses of crows were found in Vasantpura village in Savli district.

Dr Narendra Parmar of ADIO Vadodara, said, “We have collected both oropharyngeal and cloacal swabs of 158 birds and blood samples of close to 270 locally. These include peacocks, poultry birds, parrots, ducks, crows and sparrows. The samples have been sent to Ahmedabad for testing and the results are expected within 15 days. For more urgent reports of mortality of crows, we have sent samples of about six to the Bhopal Animal diseases laboratory and the report will be with us in a couple of days.”

Parmar said that although the investigative report of the local birds will take about two weeks to be available, there is no reason to worry unless birds show signs of flu.

Meanwhile, the administration of the VMC-run Sayajibaug zoo, which has a large population of birds and is known for its aviary section, has collected both faecal and cloacal swabs of 15 birds like parrots and peahens.

Curator Dr Pratyush Patankar said, “We have collected these samples on our own and sent them to the ADIO. However, they will also come to visit the zoo on Monday and collect oropharyngeal swabs if needed. Generally, birds in captivity are not known to catch influenza but if that happens then as per the protocol of the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the birds should be isolated and the veterinary protocol followed. In case they are required to be culled, then that will have to be done too.”

The forest department officials of Tapi district accompanied by animal husbandry doctors, reached an open plot in Virpur village near Arts and Commerce College, in Valod taluka, on Friday afternoon and found carcasses of 23 crows and two cranes. The carcass of 21 crows was in the deteriorated state while two deaths were fresh. The veterinary department officials packed the two new carcasses of crows to send it to Bhopal for further diagnostic investigations.

Similarly, the veterinary department officials of Surat, found the carcass of 17 crows on the banks of Mindola river in Bardoli taluka. The officials found three crows died recently while others were a few days older. The veterinary doctors and forest officials had found carcasses of 18 crows including three recent ones from a reserve forest area at Atgam village in Valsad district. One sample was sent to Bhopal laboratory.

Assistant director of Animal Husbandry department Surat, Dr Abrar Usmani said, “We have sent samples of the carcass of crows found from Tapi, Bardoli and Valsad to Bhopal laboratory, while remaining carcass were scientifically disposed of by us. We are waiting for the report.”

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