A bird flu alert has been issued in Madhya Pradesh in the wake of sudden death of crows in large numbers in western parts of the state, including Indore. The testing of dead crow samples at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) has revealed the presence of the H5N8, the avian influenza causing virus, in some samples from Indore and Mandsaur.
According to Animal Husbandry department sources, sudden deaths of as many as 376 crows have been reported from parts of western Madhya Pradesh, including 142 in Indore, 100 in Mandsaur, 112 in Agar-Malwa, 13 in Khargone and 9 in Sehore.
Sources said in some dead crows found in Indore and Mandsaur, which neighbours Rajasthan, H5N8 has been detected. Samples of dead crows are being sent to NIHSAD-Bhopal.
A control room has been established in Indore and action is being taken into sudden deaths of crows by rapid response teams.
Animal husbandry department officials in all districts have been directed to promptly report sudden deaths of crows as well their control and culling to the state government in coordination with the district administration and other related departments.
Directions have been issued for special monitoring of poultry farms, markets, ponds and reservoirs and sending for prompt testing samples of migratory birds at lakes and reservoirs.
The health department has been asked to give all help and safety equipment, including PPE kits, anti-retroviral drugs and disinfectants to the staff engaged in monitoring of the birds and culling and disposal of dead crows.
In Indore, where deaths of maximum 142 crows have been reported, at least two samples have been found to be infected by the H5N8 virus. The health department, which is already battling against the COVID-19 virus in Indore, has now begun door-to-door medical check-up of people living in areas where the crows have been found dead.
So far over 14,000 have been checked by teams of doctors, out of which some 20 residents have been found with symptoms of common cold and cough.