Bird Flu, culling in place at Khurda

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to check spread of bird flu, the government today began culling of fowls within three kilometre m radius of Keranga in Khurda district as advised by the Centre, official sources said. At the end of the day more than two thousand fowls were culled, sources added. The Khurda district administration has fixed the target at over 38 thousand and the government has engaged four rapid action teams for culling.

"The culling of poultry has been launched at a private firm in Keranga and nearby areas," Sanjeet Kumar, central government`s Nodal Officer for culling, said while supervising the operation in the field. While one team had been pressed into service for culling work at the private firm having about 28,000 poultry, another group was busy in nearby villages.

Stating that the entire operation was undertaken with adequate precaution and safeguards, Kumar said two 12-feet deep pits have been dug to bury the culled birds. Though locals initially protested the slight delay in starting the culling, work later progressed in full swing. District Collector Roopa Mishra also visited the area to monitor the culling, official sources said.

While culling was on in the three kilometre radius of Keranga, surveillance work was undertaken in villages within its ten km radius to detect any possible outbreak of avian influenza, Gopal Tripathy, Nodal Officer in Fisheries and Animal Resource Development department, said. The decision to undertake culling was taken following an advisory from the Centre after re-examination of serum of some infected poultry in Keranga area. Earlier, tests confirmed trace of H5N1 virus in two dead birds.

Besides the commercial firm having about 28,000 fowls, culling of other poultry stock was also carried out in the area, Tripathy said. The department had trained about 120 personnel including 50 veterinary doctors to undertake culling. The state government has also stopped serving eggs in the mid-day meal of schools in the affected areas of Keranga and 16 other adjacent villages.