Nearly a hundred pigeons have died in a far-flung village in Odisha's Kendrapara district, triggering panic in the wake of the bird flu scare gripping the state.
A district veterinary official said on 16 January that avian species are dying almost daily along the seaside in Mahakalpada tehsil.
Last week, death of chickens was reported in nearby areas. Similarly, death of rare breed of sheep had hogged the spotlight from a village near here, Kendrapara Chief District Veterinary Officer, Chaitanya Kumar Sethy said.
Death of animals and winged species has made people apprehensive as they fear that bird flu has hit the localities in Mahakalpada tehsil, said former Sarpanch, Bijoy Shukla.
After death of pigeons was reported, a team of veterinary surgeons has rushed to the village to take stock of the situation. Blood samples have been collected for laboratory test of the samples, Sethy said.
After the pathological test, the exact cause of the pigeons' death could be ascertained. The blood samples which would be tested at headquarters laboratory would later be dispatched to state animal disease research laboratory for confirmatory report regarding the cause of death, he said.
However, there was no reason to panic. Though the birds were found dropping, possibility of their might not have been due to avian influenza or flu. From the symptoms shown by the pigeons, it seems that the birds might have been afflicted with 'Ranikhet', a virus-borne disease that hits the winged species. Besides Vitamin C deficiency or food poisoning also results in pigeons' mortality, CDVO Sethy said.
Asked on the death of chickens and 'kuji' breeds of rare sheep recently recorded in Mahakalpada, he said exact cause of mortality could be ascertained after the test report findings is received from the Bhopal-based national animal disease laboratory.
However, the mortality of sheep and chicken has come down considerably from these areas after the vets launched a mass vaccination drive in the affected villages.
"I have reared a dozen pet pigeons. With utmost care, I had installed wooden shelves aviary for the birds to ensure their safety and comfort. I used to feed them with grains thrice every day. I had an emotional bond with them. Since past three days, seven of them died. Pigeons' death has saddened me. They were like my family members", said a local resident of Mahakalpada, Sanatan Mallik.