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West Bengal: Purulia is 10th district to be hit by bird flu
January 25, 2008 18:32 IST
Bird flu [Images] took the tenth district of West Bengal Purulia into its grip on Friday as expert teams accompanied by the police force began culling of chicken in the affected Coochbehar district of the state.
Confirming the deadly H5N1 virus in Purulia, District Magistrate Deepak Ranjan Kar said the avian flu surfaced at Ramchandrapur village under Santuri block in the district.
Samples from the district sent to Central laboratories tested positive, he said, adding culling operations would begin in the village on Saturday.
"We have set a target to cull 2,500 chicken, he said. With today's addition, 10 of the 19 districts of West Bengal -- Bankura, Burdwan, Coochbehar, Hooghly, Malda, Murshidabad, Nadia, Dakhin Dinajpur and Birbhum and Purulia -- have been affected by the avian influenza.
Elsewhere in the state, expert teams were accompanied by police force at many places in culling operations.
The force was sought to thwart any untoward incident, particularly in view of resentment among many villagers fearing loss of livelihood, Coochbehar District Magistrate Rajesh Sinha said.
He said 50 teams consisting of five members each fanned out to Jaridharla, Dardash and adjoining villages of Dinahata block bordering Bangladesh as rains stopped during the day.
The Border Security Force has closed the ferry service on river Dharla, which acts as the Indo-Bangla border demarcation and flows through the area, to contain the spread of the disease.
South Dinajpur District Magistrate Swapan Chattopadhyay said the culling target had been met and a total 90,000 birds had been culled.
Leaflets are now being distributed in the district headquarters town Balurghat and adjacent villages to create awareness about the disease.
Deputy Director of Animal Resources Department of South Dinajpur Sritanu Maity said an alert had been sounded at the border at Hilly amidst reports of the outbreak in the adjoining Rajshahi district of Bangladesh.
In Bihar Katihar's district over 400 chickens were culled as a precautionary measure to check the spread of the disease from neighbouring Malda district of West Bengal.
"The process of culling was delayed as team members had to collect the birds from individual houses," Deputy Development Commissioner Mithilesh Kumar Singh said.
Culling was suspended temporarily on Friday following shortage of the anti-viral medicine, Tamiflu.
A report from Agartala said about 300 birds' blood samples sent to High Security Disease Laboratory, Bhopal, tested negative for bird flu.
A separate bird flu control cell has been set up in the state and the BSF has been asked to step up vigil against smuggling of poultry products from Bangladesh.
Sources said 70 rapid response teams of the animal resources department are regularly inspecting about 8,000 poultry farms and centres in the state.