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Bengal: Chickens to be culled from Wednesday
January 15, 2008 18:28 IST
Over 3.76 lakh chickens will be culled from Wednesday in West Bengal's Birbhum and South Dinajpur districts, after the Centre confirmed the presence of H5N1 virus in samples.
''Over 3.50 lakh birds in Birbhum and 26,000 in South Dinajpur district will be culled from tomorrow,'' Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rahaman said on Tuesday.
Proper burial of carcasses had also been ordered, he told reporters. ''35,000 birds have died at two blocks of each of Rampurhat and Nalhati subdicisions, Nalhati municipality and Mayureswar in Birbhum district, besides at Balurghat in South Dinajpur district in the last few days,'' said Rahaman.
There was no report of any human being infected by the virus and people in the affected districts have been asked not to eat chicken and eggs, he said. The state's border with Bangladesh would be sealed, he said.
This is the first time that bird flu has broken out in West Bengal. Two years ago, there was an outbreak of Ranikhet disease among poultry in Darjeeling district, which had created panic.
The birds died in private poultries and in one state-run poultry in the two districts, the minister said.He said the state government would pay compensation at the rate of Rs 40 per chicken and Rs 10 per chick to poultry owners.
Rahaman said that instructions had been issued for disinfecting a radius of three to ten km from the affected areas. He said the movement of poultry birds had been banned in the districts and officials have been asked to keep a watch on ducks and ornamental birds.
The steps were taken after a report from the High Security Disease Labaoratory, Bhopal and National Institute of Virology, Pune, confirmed the presence of H5N1 virus.
The minister said that an alert was earlier sounded in the affected districts against the spread of avian influenza. "It is a localised occurrence of bird flu in the two districts of West Bengal," an official said in Delhi.
On Monday, the Health Ministry had dispatched a team from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to West Bengal.