Gujarat: Bird flu confirmed in four districts

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Ahmedabad, Jan 11 (PTI) Bird flu cases have been confirmed in Gujarat's Surat, Vadodara and Valsad districts, as some samples of dead crows from there have tested positive for the pathogen, taking the number of the districts where such cases have been reported so far since Friday to four, officials said on Monday.

Bird flu cases were first reported from Junagadh in the state on January 8, officials said.

'Samples of four crows collected from two places at Bardoli taluka in Surat on January 6 were sent to a Bhopal-based laboratory. These samples have tested positive for bird flu,' said Nilam Dave, deputy director of Animal Husbandry department, Surat.

Besides, three out of five samples of crows collected from Vasantpura village in Savli taluka of Vadodara, where 25 crows died on January 6, have also tested positive, Vadodara Animal Husbandry department's deputy director Prakash Darji said.

Similarly, samples of four crows from Valsad have also tested positive for the avian influenza, officials said.

On Sunday, 57 pigeons were found dead in Kia village in Vadodara's Karjan tehsil and their samples have been sent for confirmation to the Bhopal-based lab, Darji added.

Gujarat reported its first case of avian influenza on January 8 when two lapwing samples from Junagadh district tested positive for the virus.

The Gujarat government sounded a bird flu alert on January 5.

In the following days, districts like Surat, Vadodara, Tapi, Kutch, Narmada, Valsad, Mehsana etc. recorded deaths of birds, especially crows, ducks, pigeons, peacocks and lapwings, the health department said.

According to officials, samples of carcasses of birds have been sent to the laboratory in Bhopal and results in many cases are awaited.

The government also said that no unusual death has been reported in poultry farms.

Meanwhile, the state health department reviewed preparedness regarding the bird flu outbreak in Gujarat and said localofficials have been instructed to remain vigilant and take necessary action.

All the hospitals in the state have been provided with necessary facilities including isolation wards, and medicine for this disease is available in sufficient quantity, it said.

The health department has started immediate surveillance of the affected areas as part of the alert on the death of birds.

As per the standard guidelines on bird flu outbreak, an area of 0-10 km radius is declared as an alert zone and intensive surveillance is being carried out in all the affected areas.

The health department has declared 0-3 km radius area as infected zone, and 3-10 km radius area as surveillance zone.

'House-to-house surveillance is carried out in an area of 0 to 3 km and persons with symptoms of influenza are surveyed in an area of 3 to 10 km,' the health department said.

'Avian influenza is a low pathogenic virus, meaning it is less lethal than other bird flu viruses. Not a single case of avian influenza has been reported in humans so far,' it said. PTI KAGK NSK NSK