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H5N1 outbreak: Dead crows spark panic in Rajouri, govt says no bird flu in J&K

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Srinagar:  Close on the heels of mysterious bird deaths in Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir government clarified that no case of H5N1 (avian influenza) has been detected in the union territory

The government’s clarification comes after several crows died mysteriously in Rajouri district, sparking panic among the residents.

 

“We have not come across any case of bird flu in J&K so far. We have stepped up surveillance and as part of a World Bank aided programme. We are routinely monitoring and conducting tests after collecting bird droppings. We have issued an advisory to farmers not to allow wild birds in their farms….as wild birds get attracted to feed or food that is kept outside,” Technical Officer General, Animal Husbandry Department Kashmir, Dr. Anjum Andrabi told The Kashmir Monitor.

On precautions to be taken, he said: “Bird flu can be transmitted only if a person is very close to the bird and without a mask. Those who rear or slaughter birds are at a greater risk. As far as consumers are concerned, there is no problem if the chicken is cooked properly,” said Andrabi, who also happens to be India’s first certified ‘Livestock Advisor’.

Vishal Sharma, a resident of Panj Peer in Rajouri, said they had noticed dead birds and reported the same to the concerned authorities.

“We noticed around 25 dead birds – crows and ‘bagula’ at a couple of places. We reported the same to the concerned authorities and so far two teams including one from the wildlife department came here to collect samples,” Sharma told The Kashmir Monitor over the phone from Panj Peer.

Deputy Commissioner Rajouri, Mohammad Nazir Sheikh, said they had collected the samples and will comment further only after receiving reports.

“After receiving reports of dead birds, we dispatched a technical team to spot that collected samples. We cannot comment further only after receiving the report,” Sheikh told reporters.

An official, who was part of the team that collected samples from Panj Peer, said the report will be available in a day or two.

“We had come to collect samples. We also collected one bird that has been sent to FSL Jammu. We will get the report in one or two days. However, there is no need to panic. We have to wear N 95 masks (if close to birds) and take similar precautions that we have been taking during Covid-19,” the official said.