Bird flu returns to Tripura, culling starts

Gandhigram (West Tripura), Jan.16 (ANI):With detection of a fresh outbreak of bird flu in Tripura, mass culling was started in the state owned Gandhigram State Poultry Farm on Saturday, said an official.

After three years, bird flu has resurfaced in Tripura, which borders Bangladesh.

“There was a report of some unusual deaths and on 13th (January) we had sent the dead carcass from Agartala to the Bhopal High Security Laboratory for a test and they have sent the report on 14th 6 PM saying positive of Avian Influenza virus. That’s why, as per Government of India rules, farms which have been affected by Avian Influenza, the birds have to be culled totally, and accordingly, we have started the culling programme,” Animal Resource Development Department (ARDD) Director Manoranjan Sarkar told ANI

More than 8,500 chickens and hens were culled besides destroying 10,000 eggs on Saturday at the government-run animal farm in western Tripura.

All poultry birds within one kilometre radius of the farm will have to be culled and the process shall start from Sunday.

“In villages around the farm we have recorded mortality of poultry and ducks and we had sent the samples. On14 evening we have found bird flu H5N1 stains positive,” said Dr.Arup Kumar Dey, Deputy Director, Disease Investigation.

“After that, we had decided that as per the government guideline for bird flu control for culling and the process have already started from the Gandhigram farm and tomorrow within the one kilometre radius area of the farm culling will start.”

ARDD officials wearing protective gear culled birds and put them in sacks which were later buried dip under mud and all materials uses were burned down.

Culling will also take place at the R K Nagar government animal farm.

The National Institute of High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal has confirmed the samples from the government farm are positive for H5 strain of Avian Influenza.

It has been decided to immediately commence the culling of birds and destruction of eggs and feed material among other things so as to control further spread of the disease without loss of time.

According to the official, in addition to the culling, surveillance would be carried out over a further radius up to 10 km to monitor further spread of infection, if any.

Tripura was first affected by avian influenza in April and May 2008, forcing the authorities to cull several lakh poultry birds. (ANI)