Authorities in Kashmir have today (20 February) banned the import of poultry from the rest of India after an outbreak of avian influenza was discovered in western India.

More than 200,000 chickens have been culled after the H5N1 strain of bird flu was found in the western state of Maharashtra. The government has said it plans to slaughter some 500,000 birds within a three-kilometer radius of the outbreak.

No cases of the deadly H5N1 virus have been recorded in Jammu-Kashmir and the ban, which will be in effect for the next ten days, has been implemented as a precautionary measure, said the state’s animal husbandry minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din. The state government has set up a task force to enforce restrictions and quarantine measures have come into force at all points of entry into the state.