January 2008 News

Bird Flu Scare: Migratory Birds Found Dead In Kashmir

28 January 2008

Srinagar: Two migratory birds found dead due to a 'mysterious disease' at a nature reserve in southern Kashmir have been sent for bird flu tests, Kashmir's Department for Animal Husbandry said Monday. Official sources however said half a dozen birds have been found dead due to 'mysterious disease' so far. The latest case comes after restrictions were imposed on the movement of poultry or other captive birds from eastern Indian states where outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza has been reported from several areas. Jammu and Kashmir government has sent samples of the migratory birds, found dead in a wetland near border with Pakistan in Jammu region, to Animal Disease Lab in Bhopal for bird flu tests, an official spokesman said. The spokesman added that the development was 'not unexpected' but there was no evidence to suggest the disease had spread to the wider wild bird population or domestic birds here. Around this time of the year hundreds of thousands of migratory birds visit the Kashmir Valley's wetlands. Experts fear they could carry the killer virus to the state. 'The H5N1 avian influenza virus could be carried by vectors like migratory birds, all kinds of poultry birds, poultry feed, eggs etc,' a veterinarian said adding that it can also be air borne. He said a strict vigil is being maintained at all the wetlands including Hokarsar, Aanchar, Dal, Haigam etc. World's first case of the virulent strain, which has killed more than 200 people worldwide since 2003, was in a dead swan found in a Scottish fishing village in Britain in 2006.

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