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Bird flu: More than 1,500 migratory birds found dead in Himachal Pradesh

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Shimla, Jan 05: Migratory birds found dead at Pong Dam Lake in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district have tested positive for bird flu, according to officials, the fourth state to report cases of the dreaded avian influenza in recent days. Around 1,800 migratory birds, most of them bar-headed geese, have been found dead in the lake sanctuary so far.

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    Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Archana Sharma said that the laboratory at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly detected avian influenza in the samples of dead birds, while citing the information conveyed by the Centre.

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    At the same time, she said that her department was awaiting confirmation by the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, as it was the nodal body for testing this disease.

    In recent days, a bird flu alert has been sounded in Rajasthan, where over 250 crows were found dead in half a dozen districts. Bird flu cases were also confirmed in dead crows in Indore in Madhya Pradesh.

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    An outbreak of bird flu has been reported from some parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts in Kerala, prompting authorities to order the culling of ducks, hens, etc in one kilometre radius of the affected areas.

    Bird flu is a highly infectious and severe respiratory disease in birds caused by the H5N1 influenza virus, which can occasionally infect humans as well.

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    Meanwhile, Kangra district magistrate Rakesh Prajapati has prohibited slaughtering, sale, purchase and export of any poultry, birds, fish of any breed and their related products, including eggs, meat, chicken, etc, in Fatehpur, Dehra, Jawali and Indora subdivisions of the district.

    Exercising his powers under Sections 34 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the official said that shops selling these products would also remain closed in these four subdivisions.

    Prajapati also banned the movement of locals and tourists within a kilometre radius of Pong Dam.

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