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Bird Flu-Punjab sounds alert, pulls all stop to prevent flu

CS orders ramping up testing, sampling, surveillance of suspected cases, confirms no avian influenza case in state so far

Chandigarh, (Aditi) : Even as no case of avian influenza, or bird flu, was reported in the state so far, the Punjab Government has sounded an alert and pulled all stops to keep Punjab safe from the possible effect of outbreak in its neighbouring states.

The Centre had already confirmed that bird flu cases were reported across 12 epicentres in at least four states, including neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, besides 4 lakh chicken deaths reported in Haryana’s Panchkula district.

Confirming that no such case or bird death was reported in any part of the state till date, the Chief Secretary Ms Vini Mahajan has ordered stepping up of sampling, testing, and surveillance of the suspected bird flu cases.

She said that all requisite logistics and funds were available to fight the situation in the state.

Ms Mahajan was reviewing the situation and preparedness of the state to prevent the spread in the wake of the outbreak in other states, especially the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh, here on Thursday.

Chairing a meeting of the heads of ten concerned departments involved in the prevention and cure of such cases, the Chief Secretary asked the officers to remain on high alert and maintain a close vigil to detect any unusual bird death in the state.

Ms Mahajan said the state government was fully equipped and prepared to tackle any situation arising out of the avian influenza outbreak in the country and all efforts were being made to keep the state safe and secure.

She issued strict instructions to all the concerned department heads to take all the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of bird flu in the state.

Ms Mahajan also directed the Animal Husbandry department to withdraw the Covid testing from NRDDL in Jalandhar and fully utilise the facilities available there for testing of bird samples. “Results of suspected bird flu tests should be made available without any delay,” instructed the Chief Secretary.

During the meeting, she asked all the concerned departments to work in coordination to tackle crisis situation, if any, arises in the state.

The Police and Rural Development and Panchayats departments have been asked to keep a close vigil in their respective jurisdictions. “If any mass mortality of poultry or other birds is found, it should be immediately reported to the Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry department in the concerned district,” directed the Chief Secretary, while advising the department heads to aware the people against the rumours.

ACS Animal Husbandry VK Janjua informed the Chief Secretary that NRDDL in Jalandhar has a capacity of testing 1200 samples daily. He said that NRDDL lab has a mandate to test samples of 5 North Indian states and 3 UTs. He also briefed that till date, four samples of ducks from Tarn Taran have been received in the lab. Earlier, Haryana had sent 4 samples but there was no proper outcome of the results following which their teams collected 57 more samples from Haryana and 2 samples of birds have been received from Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. The results of all these tests would be made available by tomorrow evening. He confirmed that only 2 samples of birds sent by Himachal Pradesh have tested positive till date.

The senior officers from Health and Family Welfare, Rural Development, Water Supply and Sanitation, Revenue and Rehabilitation, Forests and Wildlife, Police, Director CPDO, Chandigarh and Vice Chancellor of GADVASU, attended the meeting.

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