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Bird flu spreads in Jalgaon, Maharastra

Written by: Staff
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Jalgaon, Mar 17: Even as more than 45,000 birds were killed and buried till this morning in avian flu-affected villages of four tehsils in this northern Maharashtra district, the deadly disease appeared to have spread further with reports of chickens falling dead in four more tehsils.

District Collector Vijay Singhal today confirmed reports of birds dying in villages of Jamner, Parola, Pachora and Badgaon tahsils, adding samples of the dead birds have been sent to the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory at Bhopal to test the presence of dreaded H5N1 virus, if any.

Earlier, the second outbreak of the bird flu in the state was reported in four tahsils of Raver, Darangaon, Yaval and Chopada of the district on March 14, nearly a month after India's first outbreak of the avian flu was confirmed at Navapur in Nandurbar district, also in northern Maharashtra, on February 18.

Briefing reporters this afternoon, the Collector said a total of 45,184 birds had been culled till this morning, including 15,985 in the severely-affected 25 villages, located in a three km radius. The remaining 29,197 birds were slaughtered in villages beyond the three km range but within ten kms radius of the four villages where the presence of the deadly virus was confirmed first on March 14. These four worst-hit villages - Salva, Savdha, Marul and Hated - are located in the neighbourhood of Navapur town.

The Collector said bus services to and from 21 villages in four tahsils of Raver, Darangaon, Yaval and Chopada, have been suspended till further order and a 400-strong police force deployed to enforce restrictions on vehicular movement in these village to contain the spread of the disease.

Authorities have also banned holding of 19 weekly bazars in the four affected tehsils untill further order in a bid to prevent sale and purchase of chickens and eggs. Most households sell birds and eggs in these weekly markets to earn their livelihood.

The Collector said health checks of the entire estimated population of four lakh people in 174 villages was also in progress since March 15. But he said no case of suspected human influenza has been reported from anywhere so far.

Mr Singhal said spraying and fumigation of poultry backywards will start tomorrow to disinfect the precincts.

Reiterating that the target of eliminating 75,000 birds in 174 villages of the four-affected tehsils will be accomplished by this evening, he said culling operations would continue for at least another two days because most of the affected livestock of poultry was spread across the backyards of people's houses in these villages unlike Navapur where poultry was confined to 52 commercial farms.

UNI

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