A statewide alert has been issued in Bihar over a suspected outbreak of bird flu after two separate incidents confirmed the presence of the H1N1 virus in a section of the avian population in the state, officials said on Wednesday.
Four teams of veterinary doctors and officials of the state animal and fisheries resources department conducted inspection of several poultry farms across the state and collected serum samples. The department has ordered preventive measures such as spray of disinfectants to start at all poultry farms. Civil surgeons and animal husbandry department officials in all districts were directed to monitor the situation and send daily reports.
“While no death of poultry birds has been reported in recent months in the state, the samples being collected will be sent to a laboratory in Kolkata for tests,” said an official. The department has also set up two control rooms and issued a helpline number.
Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park in Patna, popularly known as Patna Zoo, was ordered closed for an indefinite period on Tuesday after it was confirmed that bird flu had caused the death of six peacocks in the past ten days. “Strains of the H5N1 virus were found in the samples of the carcasses sent for test at a laboratory in Bhopal,” said principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) Devendra Kumar Shukla.
The culling of birds had started in Munger district on December 21 after the death of hundreds of crows and poultry birds in a few villages due to the H5N1 infection. The government had then issued an advisory to the district magistrates of all 38 districts to monitor any unusual death of birds.
“All precautionary measures are being taken to ensure the flu does not spread and human beings do not contract the virus. Sanitization drives at the poultry farms are being monitored. Health centres across the state have been put on alert,” said Lokesh Kumar Singh, special secretary of the state health centre. “The situation is entirely in control,” he added.