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Bird Flu Fear Grips Madhya Pradesh

Poultry farms in Burhanpur district of Madhya Pradesh, which has been facing the death of a large number of chickens for the past few days has alerted the authorities, who in turn has started investigating whether the birds 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 told IANS.

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 Feb 18. More cases were confirmed from Jalgaon district in the same state Tuesday. Over 400,000 birds have been culled in Maharashtra and Gujarat to prevent the spread of the disease.

--Edited IANS
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