The arrival of large number of migratory birds to the bird sanctuary located at the Nagapattinam District of Tamil Nadu has raised reasons for concern among forest health officials regarding the possibility of a bird flu epidemic in Tamil Nadu.
The H5N1 form of the bird flu virus, that is held responsible for a majority of the cases, is not uncommon amongst water birds that migrate to the sanctuary from November to February.
Air, saliva, excreta and nasal secretion are potential sources that could transmit the disease to chicken and ducks. The infection could also be harbored by human being following exposure to blood or excreta of the infected bird. The disease is projected to be a severe threat to the health of young children in particular.
The forest officials have requested the local farmers to restrict any form of contact that may occur between domestic fowl and wild birds. A word of caution has also been issued to watch out for symptoms of bird flu infection ranging from restlessness, swollen head and wattle, bluish comb and haemorrhage in the legs.
A report has been issued against wildlife hunting practices, as a potential risk of water contamination by infected blood of the injured birds is probable.
A notice has also been issued to the general public to bring to notice the death of any water birds in or around the area. The local people can communicate information if any to the wildlife warden Nagapattinam, or the Forest range officer, Vedaranyam or Joint director of Animal Husbandary.