New Delhi: After a number of states across the country reported the bird flu cases with the death of lakhs of birds, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) on Tuesday issued advisory and directed state wildlife departments to take serious note of avian flu cases and report mortality of wildlife to the ministry on priority. The advisory was issued after bird deaths were reported in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala. On Tuesday fresh cases were reported in Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir.Also Read - Not The Groom, This Rajasthani Bride Wore a Sherwani & Rode a Horse To Promote Gender Equality

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In its directive, the wildlife division of the union environment ministry told states that they should take all possible measures and precautions to prevent transmission of diseases, if any, in other animals and human beings. Also Read - Trying To Give 75% Job Reservation To All Haryana Residents Before Jan 15, Dushyant Chautala Makes Big Announcement

The ministry also highlighted that a large number of migratory birds visit India during this season and thus states are advised to keep a strict vigil on wintering habitats of such birds, including wetlands, for signs of mortality or disease outbreak.

The development comes as culling of chickens and ducks began on Tuesday in parts of Kerala to contain the H5N8 strain of bird flu, while Jammu and Kashmir sounded an alert and started collecting samples from migratory species after Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh reported cases of the avian influenza.

Haryana: In Haryana, over four lakh poultry birds have died at farms in Panchkula district in the past 10 days and a team from Jalandhar’s Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory has collected samples. However, there are no confirmed reports of avian influenza till now. Haryana’s Animal Husbandry Department has issued an advisory regarding poultry products.

Panchkula’s Barwala-Raipur Rani area is one of the largest poultry belts in the country with 70-80 lakh birds in more than 100 farms. According to the officials, the mortality rate in poultry birds was unusually high in this winter season.

Karnataka and Tamil Nadu: Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have stepped up surveillance and formed guidelines following the outbreak of the viral infection in neighbouring Kerala, where around 1,700 ducks have died due to the flu.

Kerala: The operation to cull birds in and around a one-km radius of the affected areas in Alappuzha and Kottayam in Kerala was launched a day after results of samples tested at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal confirmed the outbreak of the bird flu in the two districts.

Culling of birds in four panchayats of Nedumudi, Thakazhy, Pallippad and Karuvatta in Kuttanad region, where the outbreak has been reported, is expected to be completed by Wednesday evening, Alappuzha district authorities said.

Madhya Pradesh: In Madhya Pradesh, over 155 dead crows in Indore have been found with the H5N8 strain since the pathogen was first detected in the city a week back. In Indore, the presence of bird flu was first detected on December 29, when about 50 crows were found dead on the Daly College campus of the Residency area, and tests run on two of the carcasses confirmed the presence of the pathogen.

Himachal Pradesh: Officials in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday surveyed the area around the Pong Dam Lake sanctuary in Kangra district to check the spread of the flu to domestic poultry birds, a day after samples of dead migratory birds there tested positive for H5N8.

Till now, 2,700 migratory birds, mostly bar-headed geese, have been found dead in the lake area and samples have been sent for testing.

Jammu and Kashmir: Jammu and Kashmir sounded an alert and started collecting samples to check the health of winged guests flocking to the Union territory during winters, officials said as neighbouring Himachal Pradesh reported cases of bird flu.

Uttarakhand: An alert has also been sounded in Uttarakhand as well. Though no bird death has been reported so far from the state, all forest divisions have been asked to be on the alert and vigilant. Officials have been asked to keep an eye on Asan Conservation Reserve, Jhilmil Lake, Nanak Sagar dam and other water bodies and barrages.

(With inputs from agencies)