Via The Tribune, a Chandigarh newspaper: Bird flu notified in Chandigarh. Excerpt:
The Central Government today notified the outbreak of Avian Influenza in captive ducks and geese at Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, putting into operation the bird flu prevention and surveillance plan to sanitise the affected area and prevent the infection from spreading.
The UT Administration late this evening began culling and destroying around 150 ducks and geese on the island in the lake after the Animal Husbandry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed H5N1 (highly pathogenic avian influenza) and instructed the administration to cull the birds.
Culling was restricted to the lake, where at least one sample of the dead geese tested positive for bird flu at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal. Migratory birds in and around the lake will not be culled, officials said.
The operation was jointly launched by the Animal Husbandry Department, Forest and Wildlife Department and Chandigarh Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) under the supervision of Prince Dhawan, Director, UT Animal Husbandry Department.
Rajbir Singh Rana, Joint Secretary (Livestock Health), Animal Husbandry, and the nodal officer for the animal disease outbreaks in the country, said the lake would have to be sanitised for three months as part of the surveillance plan to end the infection.
“We have notified the outbreak of H5N1 in captive ducks and geese at Sukhna Lake and the culling operations are on. We are also sending an alert on avian influenza in Chandigarh to the World Organization for Animal Health. The next step after the culling operations will be to sanitise the area and undertake active surveillance for three months,” Rana said.
“The movement around the lake will remain restricted for a month to begin with and possibly for three months, which is our normal drill as part of the surveillance programme. The idea is to sanitise the area,” he said.
The Animal Husbandry Department said samples of the lake water will also be screened to rule out infection. “Teams from our Bhopal lab will be sent for environmental sampling of water and droppings of infected birds at Sukhna Lake. The future course of action will depend on the results of those samplings,” Rana said.
Around 60 samples taken from migratory birds have come out negative at a Jalandhar laboratory. The samples of around 25 ducks at Golf Club in Chandigarh were also negative.
Anup Kumar Thakur, secretary, Animal Husbandry, said there was no reason to panic since the infection was localised around the Sukhna island. “The scale of the problem in Chandigarh is not the same as was reported recently in Kerala. We are keeping a close watch,” Thakur said.