First cases of avian influenza detected in Jammu's Udhampur and Poonch

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Jammu, Jan 31 (PTI) The Udhampur and Poonch districts of Jammu region have reported their first cases of avian influenza as samples taken from three dead birds tested positive for the disease, prompting precautionary measures including the culling process, a senior official said Sunday.

The Deputy Director (Poultry and Research) of the Animal Husbandry Department, Jammu, D D Dogra said while samples from a peacock and a domestic fowl have returned positive for H5N8 from Juganu block in Udhampur, a wild crow was tested positive for H5N1 from Mandi area of Poonch.

'These are the first positive cases in Jammu region but there is no need to panic as majority of the test reports are negative,' he told PTI.

Dogra said the department had so far collected and dispatched 218 samples for testing at Jalandhar in Punjab.

Barring the three positive reports from Udhampur and Poonch, which were cross-checked from the Bhopal laboratory, 115 reports came negative while the result of rest of the cases is awaited, he said.

He said the department has taken necessary measures in accordance with the government guidelines to prevent the spread of the infection.

'Since a domestic fowl and a peacock were tested positive for bird flu in Udhampur, we have started culling of the birds in one km and active surveillance in 1-10 km radius,' Dogra said, adding people have also been informed about the precautionary measures need to be taken to effectively deal with the situation.

He said the department had taken 40 samples from vehicles carrying poultry birds to Jammu and Kashmir at Lakhanpur entry point and all the reports came negative.

'We have also dispatched several samples of birds which were found dead in Bathindi area of Jammu recently. These too came negative,' he said, adding usually it takes a week for a sample to get tested at Jhalandar laboratory but those tested positive are being cross-checked at Bhopal lab.

After the positive report of a dead crow in Mandi, Poonch district authorities said samples of all sales points and backyard poultry shall be taken within one kilometer and regular surveillance maintained by the Animal Husbandry Department.

'No sample of domestic poultry bird tested positive so far,' an official said.

On January 5, Jammu and Kashmir sounded an alert and started collecting samples of birds across the Union Territory after neighboring Himachal Pradesh reported cases of bird flu.

Earlier, four samples tested positive for avian influenza from different parts of Kashmir. PTI TAS TIR TIR TIR