The Chandigarh forest and wildlife department has been put on high alert after a few dead birds were found in the wild areas this week. Forest officials were unable to ascertain the exact reason behind the cause so far and therefore, sent the samples to test for bird flu on Wednesday morning.

"Few birds were found dead in the forests areas. Samples were collected and sent to the Disease Diagnostic Laboratory Jalandhar for its virology and to ascertain cause of death in order to deal with suspected avian influenza in scientific manner," said Abdul Qayum, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chandigarh.

Bird flu
In picture: Government officials wearing protective gear cull hens at the government-run Gandhigram State Poultry Farm after bird flu virus was detected in the area near Agartala, on January 16, 2016.IANS File Photo

Maximum poultry deaths in Haryana

The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairy has confirmed the presence of bird flu virus in four Indian states -- Himachal Pradesh, where around 1,800 migratory birds were found dead in the Pong Dam Lake sanctuary, while others include Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.

But other states sharing borders with the affected states have also been kept on high alert, especially after Haryana's Panchkula has reported deaths of over four lakh poultry birds in the past few days, the maximum in comparison to the above four states.

On Tuesday, the carcass of a bird, a fish and a frog were found floating in Sukhna Lake. Forest officials couldn't immediately determine the exact reason.

While the test results are still awaited, Qayum had told Hindustan Times yesterday, "We have taken samples of the bird found in the lake and will send them to Regional Disease Diagnosis Laboratory in Jalandhar for testing on Wednesday morning."

bird flu
A recent study found that your date of birth can predict your chances of getting bird flu.Reuters

"This is first such sample that is to be sent from the city amid the bird flu scare. It generally takes a day or two for the results to arrive," Qayum added.

Local health officials have also been put on alert to ensure surveillance of the affected pockets and test anyone showing symptoms of bird flu or avian flu which comprises of fever, cough and sore throat.

Migratory birds suspected as primary breeders

The ministry has pointed to migratory birds as the main cause for the spread of the flu which has triggered an alarm all over the country, at a time when the people are still trying revive from the long-tern effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

"In India, the disease spreads mainly by migratory birds coming into India during winter months i.e. from September-October to February-March. The secondary spread by human handling (through fomites) cannot be ruled out," the ministry said in a statement.

The government said it is already aware of the problem and has urged the states to strengthen the biosecurity of poultry farms, disinfect the affected areas, and properly dispose of dead birds and their carcasses.

Water bird
Eight birds died within 24 hours at the zoo in Gwalior due to the H1N1 virus. Their samples have been sent to Jabalpur Veterinary University for research. [Representational image]Reuters

States have been further asked to timely collect and submit the samples for confirmation and intensification of the government's surveillance plan.

"Coordination with the forest department for reporting any unusual mortality of birds was also suggested to the States. The other states were also requested to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality amongst birds and to report immediately to take necessary measures," the statement read.

In addition to the general precautionary measures, a control room has also been set up in New Delhi to keep a continous watch on the situation and take stock on a daily basis.