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Bird flu back in Bengal district,culling begins

Sixty teams,comprising 420 people,from the animal resource development department and district administration started culling of the birds on Tuesday afternoon.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi/kolkata | Published: September 21, 2011 12:29:01 am

Bird flu has resurfaced in West Bengal with poultry samples from five gram panchayats of Tehatta I block in Nadia district testing positive for H5N1 (avian influenza) at the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal.

Sixty teams,comprising 420 people,from the animal resource development department and district administration started culling of the birds on Tuesday afternoon. According to district administration,about 51,517 birds have to be culled in five gram panchayats of Betal I,Betal II,Patherghata I,Patherghata II and Chanderghat.

The samples were sent to Bhopal after about 800 birds were reported dead in the area in the last few days.

“Bird flu has been confirmed in poultry samples collected from villages of Tehatta I block in Nadia district of Bengal,” said a communique from Union Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday announcing that the government has decided to “immediately commence the culling of birds and destruction of eggs and feed material to control further spread of the disease”.

The last outbreak also happened in Bengal during January last year after which the spread was controlled by culling the poultry and extensive surveillance. Last year’s outbreak had its epicentre in Murshidabad district.

It was only in June last year that India had notified itself to be free from bird flu.

According to the established procedures,the entire poultry,including eggs,feed and litters,within the radius of 3 km from Tehatta I block will be stamped out through extensive culling operation. The authorities will have to maintain surveillance within 10 km radius. There will be restriction on the movement of poultry and poultry products from the area.

The Centre has asked the state government to keep it informed about the control and containment operations. Agriculture Ministry has informed the Bengal government that it will share the cost of compensation and urged the State to start disbursing compensation “immediately and simultaneously to culling”.

A K Agarwal,secretary of the animal resource department,said the culling will be completed in the next four-five days.

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