215 more migratory birds found dead in Himachal’s Pong Dam lake sanctuary, toll now 4,235


A total of 215 more migratory birds were found dead in the Pong Dam Lake wildlife sanctuary in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday, taking the total number of migratory water birds suspected to have died of bird flu to 4,235, wildlife officials said.

Each day since December 29, hundreds of migratory birds have been found dead in the lake area, and samples of some of the dead birds had tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza on Monday.

Chief Wildlife Warden Archana Sharma said that a joint team of animal husbandry officials from the Centre and state visited Siyal in Dhameta wildlife range and Guglara in Nagrota Surian range in the sanctuary on Sunday to assess the situation.

More poultry birds found dumped

Meanwhile, for the fourth day in a row, a large number of dead poultry birds were found dumped by the side of the Chandigarh-Shimla highway in Solan district on Saturday. Animal husbandry officials said dead chickens were found dumped near Sanwara. Earlier, dead chickens were found dumped twice near Chakki Mor and once at Barog bypass near the district headquarters. On all four occasions, the remains of the birds were buried as per the safety protocol and their samples sent to a disease diagnostic laboratory in Jalandhar.

A number of crows have also been found dead in different parts of the state over the last few days, including more than 60 crows each at Pong Lake sanctuary in Kangra and Paonta Sahib in Sirmaur and 12 crows at Taliara in Mandi. Crow deaths were also reported in Bilaspur district.

Bird flu: GADVASU issues advisory for poultry farmers, consumers

Punjab’s state vet varsity — Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (GADVASU)– Sunday issued an advisory for poultry farmers and chicken consumers in the wake of bird flu threat.

The GADVASU advisory said that though there is no report of any bird flu case in Punjab, poultry farmers need to be more vigilant.

“Bird flu is a disease of birds, caused by Avian Influenza Type A virus, which could affect several kinds of birds, including wild birds, turkeys, quails, chicken, ducks etc. Virus is shed in the faeces, nasal discharges and saliva of infected birds. Healthy birds become sick when they come in contact with the infected/reservoir birds or their secretions or contaminated feed, water or equipment. Rarely this disease transmits from birds to humans. However, the persons working in close contact of birds must follow proper personnel hygiene and safety measures,” the advisory said.

Dr Jasbir Bedi, director, School of Public Health and Zoonoses, GADVASU, said that consumers must thoroughly cook poultry and poultry products, including eggs, before consumption. “Proper cooking on more than 70° C kills influenza viruses. Farm-to-farm transmission usually occurs through the movement of the live birds, people and contaminated vehicles, equipment etc. Entry of person or vehicles in the poultry farm should be regulated,” the advisory said.

“One should inform the local veterinarian in case he/she comes across something aberrant, for example death of wild or migratory birds in the vicinity of the farm,” said Dr Rajnish Sharma, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and Zoonoses.

“Don’t handle dead birds with bare hands. Dispose of the dead birds cautiously under the guidance of local veterinarians, either by burning or burying in a pit. While disposing them of, one should wear mask, gloves and safety goggles. If gloves are not available, use an inverted polythene bag and wash your hands after the disposal. Open water troughs or farm tanks should be covered in order to avoid the fecal contamination by wild or migratory birds. Trees in the farm or near its boundary should be pruned. Other measures include maintaining sanitation of poultry farm and avoiding introduction of birds of unknown disease status,” the advisory said.

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