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Home > India > News > PTI

Bird flu resurfaces in Bengal, culling begins

March 10, 2008 14:26 IST

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Bird flu virus has resurfaced in two blocks of West Bengal's Murshidabad district, prompting authorities to take up culling operations on Monday.

Samples collected from Naya Mukundapur and Bodra villages of the district have primarily tested H5N1 positive at the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal, state Animal Resources Department minister Anisur Rehman said.

Murshidabad District Magistrate Subir Bhadra told PTI that 60 teams have begun culling operations at Raghunathganj 11 and Muridabad-Jiyaganj blocks from where fresh chicken deaths were reported.

"Fifty thousand chicken will be killed in the three-day culling exercise," he said.

The ARD minister said the sale and consumption of poultry has been banned in the notified area of the district till further notice.

Admitting that the culling operations were not completely successful in the affected districts, Rehman had said it was not possible for the government to make the system totally foolproof.

"Due to lack of awareness, many people had hidden their poultry. Some birds may have escaped culling," he said.

The ARD, he said, in coordination with the panchayats, was keeping vigil on the overall situation.

Culling operations had been ordered from mid-January after 16 of the state's 19 districts were found to have been affected by deadly avian influenza and a ban had been imposed on the sale and consumption of chicken and poultry products for three months.

Nearly 40 lakh chicken were culled till February 5 and a ban on sale of chicken and ducks was lifted a fortnight ago.

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