BHUBANESWAR: Odisha on Sunday reported the first cases of bird flu in Khurda’s Keranga where samples of the two poultry birds have been found positive. The High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, has confirmed the results to the State Government.
A full advisory from the Ministry of Agriculture is expected on Monday. As soon as the reports reached the Government on Sunday afternoon, Chief Secretary BK Patnaik and officials of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (FARD) Department met to chalk out the immediate action plan.
As the first step, movement of poultry out of and into Keranga has been stopped. As many as five surveillance teams were immediately sent to the area to find out if there has been any more incidence of mortality. Interestingly, the two poultry birds, samples of which were sent, were domestic ones while the layer firms around the area have not reported any death yet.
The FARD Department had sent samples of both crows as well as the poultry birds to HSADL. The test result of the crow samples is yet to reach. Sources, however, said crows may have been the carrier of the avian influenza virus. While Jharkhand had reported H5N1 carried by crows but so far, Odisha had remained clean. “There is nothing to panic. We have moved swiftly and put teams in the field to keep a watch on the situation. Our first attempt is to contain the spread, if there is any,” sources added.
Going by the preliminary assessment, experts said the virus does not appear very ‘pathogenic’ which explains why other poultry birds in the area have not yet contracted it. However, given the mutating nature of H5N1 virus, surveillance is the best option to contain it.
A technical team from Regional Diseases Diagnostic Laboratory, Kolkata, will reach the City on Monday to help the Government draw up the course of action. However, it is the Union Ministry which will prepare a full advisory and send it across to the State. The advisory is based on the rate of mortality and other clinical results.
Concerned over the development, the Government has also asked the Wildlife Wing to keep tabs on migratory birds at Chilika lagoon where several lakhs of waterfowls have congregated this winter. Sources in the Chilika Wildlife Division said no discernible mortality has been reported from the 1,100 sq km lake where the annual bird census concluded on Sunday.