In what appears to be another outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu, authorities on Thursday confirmed that one of the six ducks died at the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, has been tested positive for the H5N1 virus.
"In the morning, the administration received a phone call from the Union Ministry of Health, wherein they verbally confirmed the positivity of avian influenza in one of the five samples", Prince Dhawan, Director of Animal Husbandry, told The Indian Express.
It is the same virus, which killed about 20,000 ducks in Kuttanad, the Rice Bowl of Kerala, in November. The state had to cull about 2.76 lakh ducks to contain the outbreak.
The whole area around the lake has been placed under high alert after the domestic geese started dying from last week. So far, more than 35 ducks have died around the lake, The Times of India reported.
To avoid risk to the common public, rest of the ducks have been isolated with fences in the middle of the lake. Morning walk in the area or boating in the lake have also been prohibited.
Authorities have already started preparations to cull all the geese and poultry around Sukhna Lake. About 16 government-run hospitals have already been arranged, in case, of an emergency, according to an NDTV report.
Officials told The Indian Express that the current outbreak may have been caused by migratory birds.
H5N1 Outbreaks around the World ― Human Cases
The H5N1 strain of influenza virus has infected more than 650 people around the world from 2003 and has killed about 60% of them.
The virus has been taking rounds around the world since it was first isolated from a farmed goose in China in 1996, a WHO report shows.
In an outbreak that hit Hong Kong in 1997, the disease infected 18 people and claimed six lives.
In a 2011 outbreak in five countries ― Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt and Indonesia ― 34 out of the 62 people infected with H5N1 were killed, Flu.Gov reported.
Early this year, in January, the same virus killed a North American who contracted the virus during a visit to Beijing, according to BBC.