February 1, 2009 2:46:45 am
The bird flu has come to haunt the state again,with Cooch Behar district in North Bengal being declared affected on Saturday even as authorities geared up to cull nearly 45,000 birds. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been alerted to check smuggling of birds and poultry to and from neighbouring Bangladesh.
In December last,Avian Flu resurfaced in Malda and soon after,cases were reported from Darjeeling. In January,bird flu broke out in the state following which around 400,000 birds had to be culled.
Blood samples sent from Nagar Bhangni and Uttar Dangkoba villages where a large number of chickens suddenly died tested positive for the deadly H5N1 virus at laboratories in Kolkata and Bhopal, said Cooch Behar District Magistrate Rajesh Kumar Sinha.
Sinha said culling would begin from Monday in the two villages on Monday. According to district officials,30 culling teams comprising five members each would be sent to cull 45,000 chickens. Official said the border has been sealed and trading and transport of chickens from the affected areas prohibited. The BSF on the India-Bangladesh border has been alerted to prevent birds from being smuggled out.
The district administration will also initiate awareness programmes in and around the affected areas regarding bird flu and precautions to be taken. Compensation would be paid after culling.
At present,apart from West Bengal,cases of bird flu have been reported from Assam,Sikkim and even Nepal. In West Bengal,culling operations have just concluded in Malda and Darjeeling,where the situation is being closely
In Sikkim,more than 2,000 birds were recently culled in the Ravangla area. Culling and mopping-up operations have just concluded in Jhapa district bordering India. In Assam,post-culling operations continue at 17 centres spread over eight districts,where more than 500,000 birds have been culled.
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