Kendrapara, Dec 11 (LocalWire) Forest and veterinary officials have recently sounded bird flu alert in Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) of Kendrapara district after arrival of hundreds of migratory birds.
“Officials have taken precautionary steps to detect any sick bird in the park and its nearby areas,” said Kendrapara Chief District Medical Officer (CDVO) Dr Santanu Kumar Takairi on Tuesday.
“To protect poultry birds from Ranikhet disease and bird flu, we have already vaccinated around 20,000 poultry birds recently. We have also requested farmers rearing poultry birds to utilize this opportunity and approach the nearest veterinary dispensaries to get them vaccinated to prevent the viral disease,” added Dr. Takairi.
The authority also sounded an alert to check bird flu at Baga Gahana, the heronry of the park, where migratory birds have already arrived.
The forest and veterinary officials distributed leaflets and booklets among villagers near the park to create awareness about the bird flu, said the officer.
“Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have been formed in all nine blocks of the district with 16 Veterinary Assistant Surgeons (VAS) , 50 livestock inspectors, one Gomitra , Zilla Parisada members and social workers in each team,” added CDVO.
“Forest and veterinary officials are keeping watchful eyes on the migratory birds as they are prone to carry H5N1 strain of avian influenza. We have already started examining some avian species in Bhitarkanika but could not find any sick birds,” informed Dr. Takairi.
“We will soon collect blood and stool samples of many avian species, hens and poultry in all the nine blocks of the district and send them to Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI), Cuttack.
Later, the officials of ADRI will send the samples to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal,” he said.
The CDVO said around 40 poultry farm owners have been trained to detect sick hens.
Nine years back, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) of Mumbai had identified 173 places across the country, including Chilika lake and Bhitarakanika in Odisha, as important sites for congregation of avian species.
Dr. Takairi said: “If the avian influenza strain (H5N1) mixes with a human influenza strain, a new strain will be produced which may spark a human influenza pandemic that can cause deaths.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised all member states, including India, to monitor their animal population in case the H5N1 strain of avian influenza is detected.