Maharashtra starts culling 15,500 birds as avian influenza spreads

On Tuesday, the death of 214 poultry birds was reported in the state. Of these, 200 deaths were reported from Yavatmal, 11 from Amravati and three from Akola. Four crows have also died in Akola, bringing the total toll to 218.

Maharashtra has started culling 15,500 poultry birds in Latur and Parbhani after cases of avian influenza was confirmed in these two districts. Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh said on Tuesday that the culling is being carried out in accordance with guidelines concerned with the outbreak of the highly infectious disease.

“All poultry birds within 0-1 km of the epicentre have to be culled as per norms,” said Singh. Since January 8, 1,839 bird deaths have been reported in the state.

On Tuesday, the death of 214 poultry birds was reported in the state. Of these, 200 deaths were reported from Yavatmal, 11 from Amravati and three from Akola. Four crows have also died in Akola, bringing the total toll to 218.

For the past week, at least 10 states across the country have reported cases of bird flu. Maharashtra had reported positive cases from districts of Parbhani, Latur, Beed, Thane and Ratnagiri. Death of poultry birds, both backyard and commercial, has been reported from Parbhani and Latur.

The state is reporting the disease for the first time since 2006. This highly infectious disease, caused by the H5N1 or H5N8 virus, causes large scale mortality. Migratory birds are the carrier of this disease. Consumption of chicken and eggs have dipped since the first reports of this disease emerged.

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