Avian flu detected in Himachal, Chandigarh dept drags feet on matter

Although the poultry farm owners attributed the sudden mortality to severe cold season, experts maintained that the high mortality along with reports from mortality of birds, including migratory, in other states is a matter of concern.

The Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory (RDDL), Jalandhar, Monday found the 80 poultry birds samples insufficient for ascertaining the cause behind the sudden high mortality of the birds. Sources said the RDDL officials decided to collect samples on their own from various poultry farms situated at Barwala on Tuesday.

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Mukesh Kumar Ahuja confirmed the decision of Jalandhar laboratory officials. He said, “A team will come tomorrow for collecting more samples.”

A source in RDDL said, “The Haryana animal husbandry and dairying department sent merely four carcasses along with other 76 samples of living birds, which were insufficient to ascertain the cause of deaths of lakhs of poultry birds.” Sources said that the examination of some of the samples suggests that the samples were extracted from the healthy birds.

A senior pathologist officer in the laboratory said that at this stage they are not ruling out the possibility of sending the samples to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, which is the final authority to declare any kind of virus behind the sudden mortality of the birds.

Anil Banwala, Deputy Director, Haryana Animal Husbandry Department, did not respond to repeated calls.

A senior officer of Haryana Animal Husbandry and Dairying department maintained that concerns being raised for sending the samples directly to Bhopal and a decision will take in the coming days.

Lakhs of poultry birds have been dying since December 5 last year. Although the poultry farm owners attributed the sudden mortality to severe cold season, experts maintained that the high mortality along with reports from mortality of birds, including migratory, in other states is a matter of concern.

In Chandigarh, the animal husbandry department on Monday did not collect samples stating that no unnatural behaviour was observed here in the birds. However, the UT forest and wildlife department has asked them to collect samples considering the fact that the birds that died at Pong Dam have tested positive for bird flu.

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