KENDRAPARA: The forest and veterinary officials have issued bird flu alert in Bhitarkanika National Park in the district after hundreds of migratory birds arrived in the park and its nearby areas in their annual sojourn.
The officials have also taken precautionary steps to detect sick birds after the death of around 15,000 ducks reportedly due to the avian influenza in Kerala recently, said Dr Bhubananda Rout, Chief District Veterinary Officer (CDVO) of Kendrapara.
The authorities have also sounded an alert in Baga Gahana, the heronry of the park, where a large number of migratory avian species has already arrived. The forest and veterinary officials distributed leaflets and booklets among the villagers to create awareness about the bird flu.
Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have also been formed in all nine blocks of the district. Each team comprises a Veterinary Assistant Surgeon (VAS), two livestock inspectors, one Gomitra, Zilla Parishad members and social workers, Dr Rout said.
Forest and veterinary officials are keeping a watch on the migratory birds as they are prone to carry H5NI strain. “We have already started examining some avian species in Bhitarkanika but could not find any sick bird,” said Dr Rout. During the annual bird census to be carried out in Bhitarkanika from January 1 to 12, senior veterinary officials will detect the sick birds, he added.
“We have collected blood and stool samples of around 200 avian species, hens and other poultry birds and sent those to Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI), Bhubaneswar. Later, the officials of ADRI will send the samples to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal. We have also trained around 45 poultry farm owners to detect sick hens,” said Dr Rout.
If the avian influenza strain mixes with a human influenza strain, it will produce a new strain which could spark human influenza pandemic. WHO has advised all member states, including India, to monitor the animal population in case the H5N1 strain is detected.