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MP vigilant to prevent bird flu

The Madhya Pradesh government has sounded an alert on bird flu, also known as avian influenza, after two samples sent to Kerala tested positive.

The samples were tested at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases. The authorities have asked all districts to remain vigilant.

An officer in the animal husbandry and fisheries department said: “We have asked districts to send samples of birds suspected to be carrying the disease.”

The officer, however, clarified the alert was a precautionary measure.

A few years ago, the poultry business in the state was badly affected due to the flu. It crashed market prices of chicken and eggs.

“Our business came to a standstill a few years ago when bird flu hit the state,” said a Pradan official, a non-governmental organisation that supports backyard poultry for people from economically backward regions.

The animal husbandry department has also asked district officials to conduct random checks and collect droppings of migratory birds to ensure safety of the poultry population.

The animal disease laboratory at Bhopal, the only institute of its kind in Southeast Asia, confirmed the samples from Kerala tested positive for the disease. “We received two samples from Kerala and both were positive,” acting director of the laboratory D D Kulkarni told Business Standard.

According to the World Health Organization website, avian influenza is an infectious viral disease of birds that does not usually affect humans. However, some strains of the viruses can cause infections in people and have the potential to turn into a pandemic.

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