Bird Flu: Crows, Mynas, Herons Found Dead in Jharkhand; Mumbai Civic Body Issues Guidelines

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A large number of crows, mynas and herons were found dead at a village in Jharkhand's Dumka district, triggering panic over the possibility of the bird flu outbreak in the area, officials said on Tuesday. District Animal Husbandry Officer Awadhesh Kumar Singh said 40-50 birds were found dead at the Pokharia village near Mohulpahari in the Shikaripada police station area on Monday.

The incident triggered panic among the locals as they feared the possibility of the bird flu outbreak in the area, he said. Samples have been collected and sent for examination to Ranchi, Singh said, adding that the test reports would confirm if it is the bird flu or there was any other reason for the deaths.

Villagers noticed that birds were falling from the trees one after the other on Monday morning. After being on the ground shivering for a while, the birds died, locals said. In the meantime, some stray dogs and cats started feasting on the dead birds, leading to further panic, they said.

Singh said that this was the first such incident in the Dumka district. The dead birds have been buried with all precautions and people have been urged to remain vigilant about such incidents, he said.

Hundreds of birds have been reported dead in different parts of the country as the raging bird flu spread to 10 states and Union Territories, prompting several control measures. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all state governments to remain alert and ensure a constant vigil near places such as water bodies, zoos and poultry farms.

Delhi, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra on Monday confirmed bird flu cases, adding to the list of seven states -- Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh which had already reported avian deaths due to the disease.

Meanwhile, in the wake of samples of two crows from Mumbai testing positive for bird flu, the city civic body has issued a set of guidelines on reporting the death of birds and safe disposal of their remains. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), while issuing the guidelines on Monday, also appealed to citizens to contact its helpline number 1916, if they notice bird deaths.

According to the Bhopal-based ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), two crows from Mumbai have died due to bird flu, an official said on Monday. The BMC has directed the disaster control department to immediately report about death of birds to on duty assistant engineers concerned of the solid waste management in assistant municipal commissioner's office or to the war rooms.

"The workers and helpers from the regional office and under assistant engineer will dispose the dead birds as per the laid down guidelines," the guidelines said. The BMC also directed assistant engineers to bring the death of birds to the notice of state-appointed rapid response teams and dispose the carcasses as per their instructions.

As per the directives under 'Avian influenza action plan to control and prevent revised guidelines 2021', the dead birds have to be disposed of by burying them in a pit. "Also, it is necessary to use an adequate amount of limestone to bury them and ensure other animals do not dig it again," the civic body said.

The BMC also asked the Veer Jijamata Udyan in Byculla area of south Mumbai to follow guidelines issued by the Central Zoo Authority about bird flu. Besides asking the department concerned to carry out awareness campaigns about bird flu, the civic body also asked assistant commissioner (market) to create a plan about cleanliness of chicken and mutton shops.

(With inputs from PTI)