notification issued at Jammu (SRO 92) the Jammu & Kashmir Government has
lifted the ban on the import of broiler birds, day old chicks and eggs into
the state. Considering that the spread of bird flu has been gradually
progressing towards northern India, its strange to see the ban being
revoked. J&K and Kashmir particularly would provide the best climatic
conditions for survival and transmission of the influenza virus considering
the summer would have been helpful in eradicating the dreaded virus in rest
of the country, this decision of J&K govt. seems premature and open to
MARCH 16, 2006: BIRD FLU SCARE IN MADHYA PRADESH
death of a large number of chickens in poultry farms in Burhanpur district
of Madhya Pradesh in the past few days has prompted authorities to conduct
tests to ascertain whether they had died due to bird flu.
Suraj Damor, the district magistrate of Burhanpur, said 80 birds had died
in poultry farms at Ichhapur village.
Other reports, however, said some 400 chickens had died in Burhanpur over
the last three days. Burhanpur is close to Gujarat and Maharashtra, the
two states where cases of bird flu have been confirmed.
"Samples have been sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory of
Bhopal to check whether the hens died due to bird flu," Damor told
reporters. She said two teams of health experts had been sent to Ichhapur
to take stock of the situation. The supply of poultry from Burhanpur to
other districts had been stopped, she said. A senior official of the
Bhopal laboratory said the samples from Burhanpur had been received. "It
will take us around a week to find the cause of the death of the birds,"
the official said.
He said the laboratory had also received around 180 fresh samples from
Pune city of Maharashtra.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh's Veterinary Commissioner Rajesh Rajora said the
state had decided to stop all poultry supplies from Gujarat and
Maharashtra. The four districts of Madhya Pradesh that have borders with
Gujarat and Maharashtra are Burhanpur, Khandwa, Jhabua and Barwani. Rajora
said the state government was ready to deal with any situation and teams
of cullers and vaccinators had been formed in all districts of Madhya
Pradesh. India's first case of bird flu was reported from Nandurbar
district of Maharashtra on February 18. More cases were confirmed from
Jalgaon district in the same state on Tuesday.
Over 400,000 birds have been culled in Maharashtra and Gujarat to prevent
the spread of the disease.
significant move the Govt. of J&K has invoked the 'Essential Service
Maintainance Ordinanace' for the vets and para vets of the state, this has
been done to infuse the utmost preparedness for the impending 'bird flu
threat'. As per the ordinance vets an para-vets from the state "shall
not abandon their employment or absent themselves from the duty/work or
depart from the area/areas where they are posted, failing which they shall
be guilty of having committed the offences under section 5 of the ordinance
for which they shall be prosecuted before the court upon a complaint by the
concerned District Chief Animal Husbandry Officer and shall be liable to
punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and
shall be liable to fine under section 7 of the ordinance".
MARCH 09, 2006: BAN ON CHICKEN, EGGS TO CONTINUE IN J&K -UNI
The Jammu and Kashmir
Government has said the ban on entry of poultry and poultry products into
the State will continue till the bird flu situation improves across the
country. The state administration said the ban, imposed on February 19 in
the wake of outbreak of the deadly avian influenza in Maharashtra and
Gujarat, would be lifted once it was fully satisfied that the bird flu
situation improved across the country.
At a high-level meeting here
on Saturday evening, Animal and Sheep Husbandry Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din
said as long as the threat of the deadly H5N1 virus persisted in the
country, the ban on entry of poultry and poultry products would continue.
The Minister also took stock of the situation and arrangements made to
meet the challenges thrown by the outbreak of the deadly disease in some
parts of the country.
He stressed the need for
uninterrupted surveillance in all the regions and urged the officials not
to show any slackness in their vigilance over poultry and migratory bird
population in the state. Animal and Sheep Husbandry
Commissioner-cum-Secretary Dr Muhammad Deen said that 1257 samples
collected in Kashmir had been sent to the High Security Animal Disease
Diagnostic Laboratories, Bhopal. However, he said none of the samples had
tested positive for the deadly bird flu disease. Dr Deen expressed
satisfaction over the status reports on the health of poultry population
in the Valley. He said instructions had been given to field agencies that
strict vigil be maintained on the poultry population in villages along the
Line of Control (LoC) and the international border and the field teams
will regularly collect samples for testing. A close watch was being
maintained on poultry population in the villages lying in close proximity
to the wetlands as these were more exposed to the risk of contracting the
infection from migratory birds, he added.
MARCH 03, 2006: BIRD FLU SCARE: POULTRY TRADERS' PLATES FULL OF ROTTEN
in Punjab not willing to risk eating chicken or eggs after a bird flu
outbreak in parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat, poultry businesses in the
state are rotting just like the millions of eggs lying with the
traders. Prices have almost halved from Rs 140 to Rs 75 for 100 per eggs
after the avian influenza scare, but without any takers, the eggs are
rotting in the farms, traders heree complained.
What has compounded their problems is the ban imposed by Jammu and
Kashmir on entry of chicken or eggs from the state. Jalandhar is known
as largest market of eggs in punjab, which also meet the demands of
neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, which has
already imposed ban on intake of chicken and eggs from Punjab, said
Jaswant Singh Setia of Punjab Egg Dealers' Association." Although there was
no confirmed case of bird flu in the northern part of the country, the
scare of the deadly disease has taken its toll... Sales have witnessed a
steep decline in the last fortnight," he said.
Despite such a heavy loss to the poultry farms, the state government has
not provided any relief to the industry, said Jasbeer Singh, owner of a
poultry farm in the city.
He demanded immediate compensation on the pattern of relief given in the
event of a natural calamity.
"Jammu and Kashmir was the major taker of Punjab's eggs, with a daily
consumption of 10 lakh eggs, but after the ban enforced by the
state, egg dealers in punjab are facing heavy losses," he said.
Consumption in Punjab itself has dropped by almost 80 per cent.
FEBRUARY 28, 2006: US EMBASSY ISSUES TRAVEL ADVISORIES TO INDIA HEADED US
On February 18, 2006, the
Government of India announced the first official report of the presence of
the H5N1 avian influenza virus in India. According to the report, the
virus was found in domestic poultry in Navapur, a city located in the
Nandurbar district in the west Indian state of Maharashtra (near the
borders with the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh). Subsequently, the
H5N1 virus was found in chickens in Uchchhal, Gujarat, just a few miles
from Navapur across the state border. Health authorities continue to
monitor poultry workers and others in this area, but there have been no
confirmed cases of contraction of the H5N1 virus by humans.
American citizens are advised to avoid those areas identified by the
states of Maharashtra and Gujarat as being affected by avian influenza,
and to monitor news reports regarding other possible avian influenza
outbreaks in India. We also wish to advise American citizens that, in any
area which experiences an outbreak of avian influenza among birds or
humans, local authorities have the power to quarantine symptomatic
individuals in government hospitals, many of which may not provide
adequate isolation facilities.
U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor any other possible outbreaks of
avian influenza in India and Bhutan among domestic and wild bird
populations, and also will continue to monitor the possible spread of the
virus from infected poultry to humans.
FEBRUARY 25, 2006: SECOND STATE HIT; GUJARAT CONFIRMS BIRD FLU IN SURAT
among chickens has been confirmed in Surat district of Gujarat, official
sources said on Saturday.
"The avian flu has been detected
among some chickens from one poultry farm in Utchal taluka. It was
confirmed by the Union government on two samples out of thirteen that we
had sent from the region...," Gujarat Secretary for Breeding and
Protection D K Rao said. The
official said that the flu was detected in samples from Timol poultry farm
in Utchal, close to avian flu affected Navapur taluka in Nadurbar district
of Maharashtra. Various preventive
measures have already been taken to prevent spread of the disease among
more birds or any human, he added.
(click on image to view
23, 2006: KASHMIR ON HIGHEST BIRD FLU ALERT
Already rattled by news about spread of bird flu virus in some parts of
Maharastra, Kashmiris are faced with a high alert from the local Wildlife
department as migratory birds from the plains of the country start
arriving in Srinagar on journey back to their summer homes.
Mohammad Shafi Bacha, the local Wildlife Warden does not want to sound
alarmist, but what he says is quite serious. "The beginning of Spring is
really the high risk period for us to be on the maximum alert. You see
migratory birds from the plains and also from wetlands in Punjab, Haryana,
Orissa, Maharashtra and Gujarat start arriving in Srinagar this time on
their return journey to summer homes in China, Western Europe and Russain
Siberia.These birds stay for short periods, but if any one of them is a
carrier of the H5N1 virus it is likely that the virus can get carried to
the stocks of local ducks and geese and thence to the local poultry as the
domestic ducks and geese share the wetland environment of the migratory
birds in places where human habitations exist in close proximity of the
natural reserves of the migratory birds."
Bacha also said three species of the migratory birds that come to Kashmir
every winter are believed to have acted as potential carriers of the virus
in those parts of the world where the migratory birds had been responsible
for the arrival of the bird flu virus.
"These three species are the Brown Headed Gull, the Cormorant and the
Bar-Headed Geese. Of these three, the Cormorant comes to Srinagar for a
short period in the spring and we call it bird of the passage. But, the
Bar-Headed Geese stay for breeding in the Ladakh region for a few months
and that puts the area on high risk," he said. The wildlife warden also
said in 2005 over 8 lakh migratory birds came to Kashmir from Western
Europe, China and the Russian Siberia.
As the news about the spread of the dreaded bird flu virus in parts of
Maharashtra and Gujarat starts reaching the nook and corner of Kashmir
more and more locals are restraining themselves from using poultry and
poultry products. Interestingly, the official advisories that there is no
reason for alarm are simply falling on deaf ears. The state government has
already banned the entry of poultry and poultry products into the state,
which reach Srinagar mostly from the neighbouring states of Punjab,
Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
M.K. Turki, the joint director of the local animal health department says
teams of his department's experts who have been provided with the lastest
equipments and sample collection kits are visiting different parts of the
state. "There is no reason whatsoever for panic. We have no report of any
bird deaths that could be pinned to the dreaded H5N1 virus so far," Turki
said in Srinagar.
FEBRUARY 20, 2006: POULTRY FROM OTHER STATES BANNED (TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE)
The authorities have imposed a ban on the entry of poultry in Jammu and
Kashmir from the neighbouring states to prevent spread of bird flu.Reports
said special barriers had been set up at Lakhanpur, which is the entry
point into the state from Punjab, to check the entry of poultry birds.
Poultry products were supplied here from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab and
Haryana.Punjab and Haryana are major suppliers of poultry to Jammu and
Kashmir. These states are also supplying poultry to the armed forces and
paramilitary forces deployed here. Truckloads of poultry enter Jammu and
Kashmir from the neighbouring states every day. The forest department is
also keeping an eye on the wetlands where migratory birds from Siberia
flock during this season.
Mr.R.L.Bharti, Chief Wildlife Warden, said so far there was no untoward
report from any wetland. He said the migratory birds were known to be
carriers of the killer flu.He said the field staff had been asked to make
residents around the wetlands aware about the bird flu and not allow their
poultry birds to mix with the migratory birds. Mr Bharti said the
reports of death of 600 migratory birds at the Pangong lake in Ladakh were
20, 2006: J&K GOVERNMENT IMPOSES BLANKET BAN ON IMPORT OF POULTRY/POULTRY
PRODUCTS AS WELL AS PIG/PIGGERY PRODUCTS INTO THE STATE
In a significant move the government of Jammu & Kashmir have issued an
SRO banning the entry of poultry/poultry products and pigs/piggery
products into the state to prevent the entry of bird flu. In addition as
per another SRO issued simultaneously Avian Influenza has
been listed as a scheduled disease and made notifiable.
In the first instance of the
deadly avian flu virus in India, the Maharashtra government on Saturday said
chicken have died of the disease in the Nandurbar and Dhule districts, which
have a large number of poultry farms, even as the state authorities have
rushed immediate medical help to the affected areas.The high security animal
disease laboratory in Bhopal, where poultry samples were sent has confirmed
that seven samples had strains of the deadly H5N1 avian flu virus, official
sources said in Mumbai. State Animal Husbandry Minister Anees Ahmed has
assured that all preliminary precautions have been taken to prevent the
spread of infections to other areas and the entire area has been isolated,
and the infected birds have been kept separately. The minister also cautioned
people in Dhule and Nandurbar districts from consuming poultry products and
emergency medical teams and medicines were rushed to the affected areas.
There was however no
cases of the human infection. Medicines, airlifted from Delhi, have reached
Aurangabad and are being taken to Nandurbar by road, the minister, who is
currently in Nagpur said. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar told
reporters that the government was taking all measures on a war footing to
combat the disease and that there was no cause for panic. "This was the
first time that India has been affected by the bird flu virus, but we are
confident of tackling the situation." Over 50,000 birds have died in the
area, having 52 poultry farms, during the past two weeks but senior
officials in the animal husbandry department said the cause of death was
initially thought to be "ranikhet" and not bird flu. Poultry birds within a
three kilometer radius of Nandurba from where samples were sent to Bhopal
will be culled using carbon monoxide and through birdfeed mixed with
medicines, the minister said adding neighbouring Gujarat has been alerted as
large number of poultry from Maharashtra is supplied to that state,
especially Surat. The Maharashtra government has alerted authorities in
neighbouring Gujarat who have set up a 24-hour monitoring cell at Surat.
Eleven veterinary teams have been rushed to Surat, D K Rao, secretary,
animal husbandry said at Ahmedabad adding the state has nine poultry farms
with about 18,000 birds from where about 100 chicken deaths were reported
during the past 10 to 12 days. However, he said this rate of poultry deaths
was normal. Meanwhile, in New Delhi, the Centre activated its action plan to
prevent the spread of bird flu and officials said Union Health Minister
Anbumani Ramadoss would speak with Maharashtra authorities on the issue.
"The health ministry is seized of the entire development and appropriate
action is mooted at appropriate level," sources said adding, as a
ministry officials were already deputed to all states.
FEBRUARY 05, 2006:
600 BIRD CARCASSES FOUND IN LADAKH- MIGHT BE BIRD FLU DEATHS
But bird Flu spread ruled out. (UNITED NEWS OF
About 600 carcasses of migratory birds, blamed for the spread of bird flu
in several countries across the globe, were found near the Pangong
Lake in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir some weeks ago, sources
said Sunday. They said the dead birds were found near the Lake, which lies
in the northeast of Leh, in December last year. The sources said the birds
could have possibly died of H5N1 avian influenza (commonly known as bird
flu). However, the sources ruled out spread of the bird flu or any
disease, as there is no population around the
famous blue brackish Lake, half of which runs to the other side of the
India-China border. The black-necked Siberian crane could be found around
the Mahe marshes which are the only breeding ground for the migratory
birds in the Lake.
Health authorities across the globe are concerned over the spread of H5N1
avian influenza which has swept through flocks across Asia and into
Europe, killing or forcing the culling of 200 million birds. H5N1 avian
flu was first reported in people in Hong Kong in 1997, when it infected 18
people and killed six. It re-emerged in 2003 and has infected at least 161
people and killed about half of them, according to the World Health
The sources said one death of bird was reported from Hokarsar bird
sanctuary near here. The carcass has been sent to the High Security
Laboratory at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh which has the facility for
diagnosis of bird flu. Talking to UNI, Deputy Director of the state
Animal Husbandry Department, Dr Farooq Ahmed Kaloo, said there have been
no reports of the H5N1 virus in poultry or migratory birds in Jammu and
Kashmir. He said Jammu and Kashmir has the unique protection cover from
any such disease carried by migratory birds. “The state has natural
filtration in the form of mighty Himalayas against diseases which are carried by migratory birds. Any vector (affected bird) with
compromised immunity gets killed on the way,” Dr Kaloo
added. Dr Kaloo said Ladakh, located at a very high altitude, has rarified
form of air. “The oxygen tension in the region is less and the atmospheric
pressure is very low as a result the carriers (migratory birds) get killed
within the area itself,” he added. However, Dr Kaloo said the department
was fully prepared for any eventuality. “We are
prepared to firmly deal with any situation. We are ready to take the disease, if detected, head on. We have taken all preventive measures.
There is absolutely no need for panic,” he added.
Dr Kaloo said there are about 1400 poultry farms in the private sector in
Kashmir alone. “We have the farm owners complete information about the
avian influenza and asked them to prevent entry of migratory and wild birds in their farms for nesting,”’ he added. He said the staff has
been trained in collecting dead birds and the department has
vigorously launched mass awareness programmes. The disease investigating officers have been deployed at all district levels, he said, adding the
thrust was on areas frequented by migratory birds in Varmul, Srinagar,
Badgam and Pulwama.
“We have stepped up surveillance on all wet zones in the Kashmir valley,”
the Deputy Director said. Dr Kaloo said the department has procured about 300 disposable “Gamma
Radiated Protective Suits” for direct handlers. Besides the people,
through sustained media campaign, have been asked not to consume migratory
or hunted birds. The H5N1 virus remains primarily a disease of birds, but
one of the greatest fears of experts is that
the H5N1 virus will mutate to become easily passed between humans,
triggering a pandemic in which millions could die. However, the current
H5N1 strain of bird flu has not mutated. Human victims contract the virus
through close contact with infected birds.
NOVEMBER 11, 2005:
BIRD FLU ALERT IN JAMMU & KASHMIR.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has sounded the bird flu alert in the
entire state and cautioned people not to buy and accept birds. "Though not
confirmed in India and also in Jammu and Kashmir, the World Health
Organisation has intimated us to be cautious,"' the state Department of
Wildlife Protection said in Srinagar Thursday. Migratory birds are
believed to be the carriers of Bird flu, it said adding, the Wildlife
Department is working to ascertain the facts.
"However, all the people, particularly those living in close proximity to
water bodies, are cautioned to avoid leaving their ducks in wetlands and
use the water that may be polluted with diseased or dead infected wild
birds," the department added.
The Wildlife Department urged the general public to ensure that birds are
not killed in wetlands, water bodies or anywhere in inundated paddy
fields, local village ponds or in water logged areas. "All are requested
not to indulge in illegal trade of any nature of
such birds. It is not only illegal, but may also carry bird flu and
prove a killing ghost within two to three days of infection," it added.
"Don't kill, buy and accept birds (shikar and pachen)," the department
said. This information has been verified by
OCTOBER 27, 2005: J&K
WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT GEARS UP AGAINST AVIAN FLU. (PRESS TRUST OF INDIA)
Gearing up against avian flu, the J&K Wildlife Department has adopted a
multi-pronged strategy through awareness drives, spraying and inoculation
in the wetlands dotting the Indo-Pak border where migratory birds
flock during the winters.
‘‘In view of a threat of bird flu being carried into Jammu and Kashmir by
the thousands of migratory birds, we have launched
a multi-pronged strategy in the chain of wetlands along the Indo-Pak
border against any possible outbreak of bird flu,’’ Wildlife Warden R Kitchloo said today. Kitchloo, who led an expert team of
the department on a public awareness campaign in the wetland reserves
along the border, said so far, there are no
reports of the disease from anywhere in the state.
More than 60,000 migratory birds from China, Malaysia and Siberia and
other countries flock to the border wetlands at Garana, Nanga, Sangral,
Kokrian and Pargwal in Jammu district every winter, he said.
OCTOBER 22, 2005:
MIGRATORY BIRDS CAN BE FLU CARRIERS FOR KASHMIR. ( IANS)
Arrival of hundreds of thousands of migratory birds this winter could
spell a disaster for Jammu and Kashmir since they could be avian flu
carriers, many experts warn. Every year thousands of migratory birds start
arriving in Kashmir from Siberia, China and Eastern Europe by the middle
of September. The good news is that none of the birds have tested positive
for the bird flu virus, but a question mark hangs over the level of
expertise that exists for such testing.
Kashmir's regional wildlife warden Muhammad Shafi Bacha said: "Recently
two of our officers have been trained in Jalandhar for testing and
sampling of migratory birds for the virus. "So far, only three species of
migratory birds have been proven as carriers of the fatal Asian bird flu
virus. These are the bar-headed goose, the brown-headed
gull and the cormorant. Of these, the bar-headed geese do not visit the
valley, but they do visit the Gharana
wetland reserve in the Jammu region," Bacha told IANS. "The brown-headed
gulls and cormorants visit us during the winter, but their numbers are
very small. They are essentially passage migrants, meaning they stay
here for short periods. "The fact that migratory birds have been
found to carry the bird flu virus in Turkey and Romania is serious news
for us. We will have to very closely monitor the birds and their life
pattern, disease occurrence and mortality this year. But, for the present,
we have no reason to panic," Bacha asserted.
Veterinary experts however have a different opinion. "If one species of
migratory birds has been confirmed as a carrier of
the Asian bird flu virus, then it is quite possible the strain can infect
other species of migratory birds like mallards, teals, shovellers, pochards and others that come to Kashmir in their
thousands," said Dr. B.A. War, a senior veterinarian. The real problem is
that the droppings and secretions from the migratory birds can infect
local poultry, causing an
epidemic for which Jammu and Kashmir might have
no answer. "These migratory birds shed droppings and secretions even
during their flight. Some of them might be healthy
enough to fly long distances and still carry the virus with them. We have
thousands of domestic ducks and swans that freely mix
with the migratory birds in our water bodies. "There are no borders either
in the sky or inside the water bodies. I think somebody needs to blow the
whistle right now before it is too late", War warned.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation has confirmed the presence of the
Asian bird flu virus in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and
China. War added that the World Organisation for Animal Health
had confirmed the deaths of water birds due to the Asian bird flu virus in
Siberia and Kazakhstan. "It is possible that the Siberian migratory birds
that come to Kashmir may carry the Asian bird flu virus. We need to be on high alert," he felt.
Although experts say properly cooked birds cannot spread the virus to
humans, they also say that handling feathers, meat, eggs or egg products
of the infected birds can transmit the virus to human beings.
Agricultural implements, feed given to poultry and even movements in open
fields where infected migratory birds have left droppings and secretions
are also danger zones.
Ironically, Kashmir has historically looked forward to the arrival of
migratory birds in winter. Now that some of them could
be carriers of the Asian bird flu virus, these birds have suddenly become
villains. "Whether you call them victims or villains,
the hard fact is that we need to watch out against the migratory birds
now," War said.