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Hoax calls about dead birds continue in Kashmir

By Staff
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Srinagar, Feb 22 (UNI) Hoax calls about dead birds from different places in the Kashmir valley continued for the second day today, sending the Animal Husbandry Department officials into a tizzy.

Deputy Director of the Animal Husbandry Department Dr Farooq Ahmed Kaloo told UNI that they had received a phone call today from a non-governmental organisation - KEPCO - that some birds had died at Kulhama, Nadihal in Bandipora area of the Baramulla district.

A team of officials was immediately rushed to the area, he added.

However, Dr Kaloo said the team found that a swan had died, but not due to the bird flu.

''The officials carried tests on the dead swan and found that the death had occurred due to chronic respiratory disease and not due to bird flu. There were absolutely no symptoms of the deadly avian influenza virus,'' he added.

The Deputy Director said as many as four birds had been reported dead over the past three days.

The samples collected from the dead birds tested negative for the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), he added.

Dr Kaloo said another call was received from Wathura, Chadoora in central Kashmir district of Badgam.

The farm owner complained that majority of birds had fallen ill due to some unknown disease, he added.

Dr Kaloo said a team headed by the Chief Animal Husbandry Officer of Badgam was sent to the area and again tests were carried out on the birds.

However, the flock was found to be suffering from chronic respiratory disease and not avian flu, he said, adding the birds were administered necessary medicine.

Dr Kaloo said the Animal Husbandry Department has set up a foolproof mechanism to respond immediately to such calls.

The Deputy Director also said the control rooms set up at respective Directorates of Animal Husbandry in Jammu and Srinagar to monitor the situation besides respond to queries of farm owners, consumers (general public) and farmers on the deadly disease have started functioning.

He said a constant vigil was being maintained on the situation and the field officers have been directed to report about any ''unusual mortality'' of birds from any part of the Valley.

UNI AG ASM RR RN1838

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