Bird flu: Culling starts in Mayurbhanj district

Bhubaneswar: After completion of the process in Khurda district, culling of poultry birds started today in the tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj, the second district in the state where bird flu has been detected.

"As per the central government`s direction, culling operation began within three km radius of Bahanada village under Betanati block of Mayurbhanj district," said a nodal officer at the fisheries and animal resource development department here.

In the first phase, culling was undertaken in four of the 31 villages in the demarcated area where an estimated 5,000 chicken exist besides ducks and other domestic birds, he said adding that the entire process is expected to be completed in about four days.

Culling in Mayurbhanj was taken up after over 31,000 fowls were culled in Keranga area of Khurda district following detection of H5N1 virus.

A senior official said all the fowls in Betanati area are indigenous birds, including some rare species, and there is no commercial poultry firm in the area.

As many as ten rapid response teams along with the district officials have been engaged in the operation, sources said adding that the culled birds were being buried in pits with adequate safeguards.

Meanwhile, about 1600 broiler birds were seized and culled near Betanati while being transported in a mini truck to Ranchi from Cuttack, they said.

The administration had banned transportation of poultry items from and within Bahanada area after one of the 41 bird samples sent from the area to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza on Sunday.