Bird flu cases at 2 Punjab poultry farms, culling from today

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 20

Three samples from two Dera Bassi poultry farms have tested positive for bird flu strain H5N8. The Department of Animal Husbandry has started preparations for initiating a culling drive at the infected poultry farms tomorrow.

The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, has confirmed the presence of H5N8 virus strain in the samples.

H5N8 strain

  • It is a sub-type of Influenza A virus (bird flu)
  • It’s highly lethal for wild birds and poultry
  • Till date, no human case of H5N8 infection has been detected

The samples were from Alpha Poultry Farm having 55,000 birds and Royal Poultry Farm having 60,000 birds at Behra village in Dera Bassi. A sample taken from a dead crow at Balongi (Mohali) has also tested positive for H5N8 strain.

On January 15, the Mohali administration sent a suspected case of bird flu from the area to the Northern Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NRDDL), Jalandhar, from where it was sent to Bhopal institute for further investigation.

NRDDL Joint Director Mohinder Pal Singh said, “The culling will be undertaken at commercial poultry farms in the 1-km radius of the affected site.”

VK Janjua, Additional Chief Secretary, Animal Husbandry, said they had constituted 25 teams of five members each for the culling drive. Each team includes a veterinary doctor. “Though we are waiting for directions from the Centre, 50,000 birds will be culled at the two farms in the first phase,” he said.

He said they had already started taking samples from poultry farms situated in the vicinity of the infected farms.

On Tuesday, a wild goose found dead in Rupnagar had tested positive for bird flu, which became the first case of bird flu in the state.

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