Bird flu detected in Mayurbhanj

Bhubaneswar: Tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj became the second district in Odisha after Khurda where cases of avian influenza were today detected prompting authorities to ban sale and transport of poultry and eggs from the area.

"Bird flu has been confirmed at Bahanada village of Betanati area in Mayurbhanj district. Steps were initiated immediately to prevent its spread," said Alok Das, a senior official in fisheries and animal resource department. One of the 41 bird samples sent from the area to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal has tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza, he said.

A team of experts and officials was sent to the area where sale and transportation of poultry, eggs and other products as part of efforts to prevent spread of bird flu, after the disease was detected for the first time in Keranga area of Khurda district recently, Das said.

An exercise has been launched in coordination with Mayurbhanj district administration for demarcation of villages existing within three km radius of Bahanada village, he said adding assessment of the poultry population was also being made for appropriate action. A report on preparedness to deal with the situation would be sent to the central government for its advice for the future course of action like culling operation, he said.

Meanwhile, as many as 711 domestic fowl were spotted and culled today in Keranga area of Khurda district where the operation, launched on January 12, was almost over on Saturday. If any more birds are noticed tomorrow, they would be eliminated, he said, adding so far 31,886 poultry birds, including about 28,000 from a private commercial firm, have been culled in Keranga area.

The operation took place within a three-km radius area of Keranga and precautionary steps were taken along the 10-km radius of the epicentre, Das said. A total of 50 trained personnel comprising officials of the department, forest and police undertook the culling operation, Das said adding people were cautioned not to open the ditches for a long time since the culled birds were buried there. Meanwhile, more cases of crow deaths, including some from the state capital, was received at the fisheries and animal resource development department. Death of about 1300 crows was received from 12 districts, Das said.