Over 170 more birds found dead in Rajasthan

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Jaipur, Jan 4 (PTI) Over 170 new bird deaths were reported in Rajasthan on Monday, amid an outbreak of bird flu in some parts of the country, officials said.

According to the Animal Husbandry department, over 425 deaths of crows, herons and other birds have been reported in the state so far.

In Jhalawar, carcass samples sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) have confirmed bird flu recently, whereas the death report of birds in other districts is yet to come, they said.

'Deaths of over 425 birds, mostly crows, have been reported in parts of the state so far. Bird flu has been confirmed only in Jhalawar. Report of other deaths is yet to come,' the department said.

An expert, however, said birds are apparently dying due to cold.

Microbiologist and former professor at Rajasthan University of Veterinary Sciences, Dr A K Kataria said that evaluation of death pattern is important in epidemiology and it suggests that deaths have occurred due to 'cold shock'.

He said though he has not seen the test reports, but pattern of deaths suggest the birds died due to 'cold shock as avian influenza has clear symptoms'.

Dr Kataria said most of the deaths have been reported in crows and not in poultry birds so far.

According to the Animal Husbandry department, 80 deaths were reported in Bikaner on Sunday, 42 in Sawai Madhopur, 12 in Kota, 12 in Baran, 8 each in Pali and Jaipur, six in Dausa, five in Jodhpur and two in Jhalawar.

The deaths have been reported in 15 districts of the state. On Saturday, the department officials had said 252 such deaths were reported.

In recent days, a bird flu alert has been sounded in Rajasthan, where over 250 crows were found dead in half a dozen districts. Bird flu cases were also confirmed in dead crows in Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

An outbreak of bird flu has been reported from some parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts in Kerala, prompting authorities to order the culling of ducks, hens, etc in one kilometre radius of the affected areas.

Bird flu is a highly infectious and severe respiratory disease in birds caused by the H5N1 influenza virus, which can occasionally infect humans as well.

Himachal Pradesh became the fourth state to report cases of the dreaded avian influenza in recent days after migratory birds found dead at Pong Dam Lake in Kangra district tested positive for bird flu.

Around 1,800 migratory birds, most of them bar-headed geese, have been found dead in the lake sanctuary so far. PTI AG CK