Mumbai, Jan 11 (IANS) Sparking huge concerns, bird-flu has entered Maharashtra in a big way after test reports confirmed the deaths of several hundreds chicken and others birds due to the H5N1 Avian influenza infection commonly known as bird flu in five districts last week, officials said here on Monday.
As per the report of the ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (ICAR-NIHSAD), Bhopal, samples of chicken, crows, parrots, Herons and Pond Egrets have tested positive for the virus.
The spread includes among hens and Herons in Parbhani, crows in Mumbai, Ratnagiri and Beed, Pond Egret and Parrots in Thane, as per the report by ICAR-NIHSAD Director V.P. Singh.
Parbhani District Disaster Management Officer Pawan Khandge said that the blood samples of 800 chicken found dead in Murrumba village on Friday, were sent to the government's veterinary college here and later the reports from the ICAR-NIHSAD proved the avian influenza.
"The concerned district authorities are visiting the affected village for a survey and later Collector Deepak M. Mugalikar shall take the decision to declare a containment zone and other suitable precautions to prevent further spread of the bird-flu," Khandge told IANS.
However, Animal Husbandry Minister Sunil Kedar said that contrary to rumours there is no ban on sale of poultry products like eggs or chicken as of now and the state government is in a state of high alert.
The state health authorities held a high-level meeting of officials from different departments to assess the situation arising out of the new threat to both animals and humans amid reports of similar poultry birds' deaths from various districts.
"The samples from Parbhani were sent to Bhopal (ICAR-NIHSAD) and the news is not good," said Kedar, even as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has summoned an urgent meeting to discuss the bird-flu situation this evening.
Besides Maharashtra, the other states hit by the avian influenza include Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala with a confirmed outbreak.
The bird virus has hit the sales and consumption of eggs and chicken and other poultry products in a big way in Maharashtra, with prices tumbling by nearly 35-50 per cent.
Simultaneously, this has led to a shift in consumption with people opting for mutton or fish products which have shown increased demand and prices moving up, according to retailers.