As the bird flu scare takes over the country, lakhs of birds have dropped dead in the last 10 days. Several states including- Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Rajasthan- have sounded an alert and stepped up efforts to contain the spread.
Bird flu or avian flu viruses can infect domestic poultry and several other bird and animal species.
- After at least 12,000 ducks died in the last few days in Kerala, neighbouring states-Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are also on alert.
- In Kerala, nearly 36,000 birds are likely to be culled after the H5N8 strain of Avian Influenza was confirmed in Alappuzha and Kottayam. The state has set up control rooms and Quick Response Teams (QRTs) in the two districts.
- Four lakh poultry birds have died in Haryana's Panchkula district alone in the last 10 days.
- After Kerala, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh has become the fourth state to confirm the avian flu.
- Slaughter, sale, purchase and export of any poultry birds, fish of any breed and their related products, including eggs, meat, chicken, have been banned in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district.
- In Madhya Pradesh, the death of over 300 crows sparked a scare. Samples tested at the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) confirmed the presence of avian influenza.
- The Punjab animal husbandry department has directed its district-level officials to start surveillance of commercial poultry farms and lakes/wetlands to check unusual sickness and deaths among birds and collect samples for testing.
- Birds in Rajasthan's Jhalwar, Kota and Baran were found to be infected. Till Tuesday, at least 625 birds had died in 16 districts.
- Meanwhile, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have been directed to take all necessary precautions.
- The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has issued a high alert, considering the seriousness of the situation and the "possibility of spread of the disease to humans and other domesticated animals/birds".