K’taka outbreak: 11 Maha districts on bird flu alert

Eleven districts of the state have been put on alert for bird flu after some areas of neighbouring Karnataka reported an outbreak of the avian influenza virus.
Animal husbandry department officials said that nearly 7,000 samples were checked in the state and and none of them had tested positive.

“Since these eleven districts are close to the border and bird flu is a communicable disease we have issued an alert,” said an official, adding that there was no reason for consumers to “panic”.

“The surveillance is part of precaution measure,” said the official. The parts of the state put on alert also provide meat to Mumbai and nearby areas. “The demand for eggs and meat is high during the winters and so we have upped our surveillance,” said an official.

On December 29, eight birds died in a chicken shop in Bhuvaneshwari Nagar in Bangalore urban area and reports from National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, confirmed that the deaths were due to H5N1 influenza virus.

 Officials in the department said that they were trying to secure more information from districts like Solapur, Kolhapur, Sangli and Latur which are located near the Karnataka border. “We are in close contact with the district level staff on the issue and fresh samples will be drawn everyday and testing will continue,’ said the official. Officials said that there has not been a single case of bird flu in the state since 2006.
In 2006, Maharashtra had reported cases of H5N1 virus in Nandurbar and Jalgaon districts, and over eight lakh birds had to be culled to control the spread of the infection.
“We have also come out with guidelines every year to keep a check on the disease,’ said an official.
Courtesy: TOI