Bird flu: New cases trigger second wave concerns

The first case of bird flu was reported from Jhalawar in Rajasthan on December 29, and the infections, deadly for birds, spread to 10 other states, resulting in the deaths of thousands of poultry, and hundreds of common crows and some migratory species.

A second wave of bird flu seems to be underway in some Indian states with fresh cases of the virus reported from Kerala after a hiatus of about 10 days and suspected cases surfacing in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The first case of bird flu was reported from Jhalawar in Rajasthan on December 29, and the infections, deadly for birds, spread to 10 other states, resulting in the deaths of thousands of poultry, and hundreds of common crows and some migratory species. The animal husbandry departments of state governments have culled hundreds of thousands of birds to prevent the spread.

On Wednesday, Kerala was on high alert after fresh cases of bird flu were reported from Alapuzha, said the state animal husbandry department, after the Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases confirmed the presence of virus in at least 300 samples.

Officials said the culling of birds will begin anew on Thursday and in the first phase 5,000, mostly ducks, will be destroyed. In early January , at least 80,000 ducks and 10,000 chicken were culled in Alapuzha and Kottayam districts and the Centre dispatched a high-level team to the state.

In Chhattisgarh, at least 45 mynas were found dead near a Central Reserve Police Force ( CRPF) camp in Bijapur district of Bastar region, officials said on Wednesday. Samples of five mynas have been sent for avian influenza tests, they said.

“There is a CRPF camp in Naimad area where the carcasses of the birds were found on Monday and Tuesday. We rushed to the spot and sent five dead birds for tests on Tuesday evening,” said AP Dohare, deputy director of veterinary services.

In Jharkhand, around 200 pigeons were found dead in Hazaribag and authorities have scrambled teams there.

The department has so far sent 4,300 samples of birds from across the state to a Kolkata lab for testing but no death due to the virus has been confirmed yet.

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