Chandigarh, Jan 5 (PTI) Over four lakh poultry birds have died at 20 farms in Haryana's Panchkula district in the past 10 days, officials said on Tuesday.
A team of experts from Jalandhar-based Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory has collected samples of birds at poultry farms, they said.
Haryana's Animal Husbandry Department has issued an advisory regarding poultry products.
Panchkula's Barwala-Raipur Rani area is one of the largest poultry belts in the country with 70-80 lakh birds in more than 100 farms.
According to the officials, the mortality rate in poultry birds was unusually high in this winter season.
The unusual deaths of four lakh poultry birds have occurred in the last 10 days at 20 poultry farms with epicentre near Garhi Kutaha and the other near Jaloli village in Barwala area.
Furthermore, the samples were collected and sent to Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL), Jalandhar from where report is still awaited and currently RDDL team has reached Barwala area for re-sampling of birds, an official spokesperson of Haryana Animal Husbandry and Dairying department said.
There are no confirmed reports of avian influenza as yet, the spokesperson said.
Among the suspected diseases can also be 'Ranikhet' or infectious laryngeo-trachitis, the spokesperson said.
'A team from Jalandhar today came for collecting samples,' Panchkula Deputy Commissioner M K Ahuja told PTI on Tuesday.
The exact reason behind the death of poultry birds could be known only after the report comes, the officials said, adding that there was no need to panic.
Ahuja said there are a total of 77,87,450 birds in poultry farms in Panchkula district and out of them, 4,09,970 have died.
As a precautionary step, the Haryana health department on Monday had also collected samples of some poultry workers for testing, the officials said.
Haryana's Animal Husbandry and Dairying has issued an advisory to the poultry farm owners to properly bury the dead birds.
'We have told the poultry farm owners to bury their dead birds,” said an official of the department.
Haryana Poultry Farmers' Association president Darshan Singla, however, attributed this high mortality rate in birds to extreme cold weather conditions, while ruling out the possibility of bird flu.
'Birds died because of immense cold weather or the disease Ranikhet,” Singla said.
Even though the mortality rate in poultry birds is higher as compared to previous months, the department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying has issued a standard advisory regarding the consumption of poultry items in case of avian influenza.
The department spokesperson said in areas free of the disease, poultry and poultry products can be cooked and consumed as usual (following good hygienic practices and proper cooking) with no fear of acquiring infection of avian influenza.
He stated that avian influenza virus is sensitive to heat. Moreover, the normal temperatures used for cooking in India (70ºC for all parts of the food) can kill the virus.
Henceforth, before consuming, consumers should ensure that all parts of the poultry are fully cooked (no “pink” parts) and that eggs, too, are properly cooked (no “runny” yolks), he added. PTI CHS VSD SNE