KARACHI: A respiratory disease similar to the coronavirus is spreading among chickens in poultry farms across the country.
According to reports, a disease called ‘infectious coryza has spread in poultry farms across Pakistan due to which a large number of chickens have died.
This has forced many poultry farms in Karachi to close down. Poultry farmers say the disease is similar to coronavirus disease in which chickens have common cold and respiratory problems. According to the poultry farms, there is no guarantee that the chickens supplied in the city are free from the disease.
The poultry sellers said they are also buying the meat at high prices due to the closure of poultry farms. However, the spokesman of the Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) Abdul Maroof Siddiqui dismissed reports of the virus and said that there is no such disease in chickens and rumours were being spread.
It must be mentioned that poultry retail prices have increased over the past week, and chicken meat was being sold between Rs520-600 per kg while boneless chicken was being sold for Rs800 per kg
The poultry farmers said the massive price hike due to the short supply of chicken which are hit by ‘Rani Khet’ disease which caused a huge loss of birds at the farms. Consumers faced a huge ordeal during the month of Ramazan as authorities were unable to take action.
Poultry feed comprises approximately 75-80pc of the cost of broiler meat and eggs. The CCP inquiry report also disclosed that from December 2018 to December 2020, the feed mills colluded to raise the poultry feed prices by Rs825 per 50kg bag, thus making the feed 32pc costlier for the poultry farmers.
Earlier. Pakistan Poultry Association (PPA) spokesperson Abdul Maroof Siddiqui said that ‘Rani Khet’ disease has surfaced again in the last one and a half months after 2012 and has caused around 30-35 percent mortality at farms all over the country.
He said the situation has restricted the supply of birds in the markets from the farms. He added the PPA has engaged experts to control the outbreak, while vaccination process is also going on to further contain the mortality of birds.
What is Infectious Coryza in Chickens?
According to MSD Veterinary Manual, Infectious coryza is an acute respiratory disease of chickens characterized by decreased activity, nasal discharge, sneezing, and facial swelling that occurs worldwide.
The disease apparently affects only chickens; reports in quail and pheasants likely describe a similar disease caused by a different bacterium.
In countries such as the US, the disease is seen primarily in pullets and laying hens and occasionally in broilers. In lower- and middle-income countries, the disease often is seen in very young chicks (eg, 3 weeks old).
Inadequate biosecurity practices and environmental factors may contribute. Infectious coryza is not a zoonotic disease (transferable to humans) and thus lacks public health importance.