With fresh cases of avian influenza or bird flu being detected at a government-run farm in western Tripura, the authorities Tuesday started culling more than 7,000 poultry birds at the farm to contain the spread of the disease, officials said in Agartala.
"Besides culling of 7,000 poultry birds, destruction of eggs and feed material have begun at the Gandhi Gram poultry farm so as to control further spread of the disease to the neighbouring villages," Tripura animal resource development department's Joint Director Jyotirmoy Chakraborty said.
"Around 400 poultry birds have died since March 1 at the Gandhi Gram poultry farm. Central government experts tested the samples of the dead birds and found the H5 strain of avian influenza," Chakraborty said.
The samples have also been tested by the Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ERDDL) in Kolkata and the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal, he said.
The Gandhi Gram poultry farm, 30 km north of Agartala in western Tripura, is surrounded by several villages.
Following the advice of the central government, Tripura has also decided to cull the entire poultry within a radius of 3 km and surveillance would be carried out within a radius of 10 km.
"State government has been asked to furnish a daily report on the control and containment operations to the central government's department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries in the ministry of agriculture," a state government official said.
With the disease's outbreak at the Radha Kishore Nagar government farm, 25 km north of Agartala, the government had culled more than 6,000 ducks and poultry birds last month.
Tripura has also imposed a ban on import of poultry birds, ducks and other poultry products.
A central team from the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI) in Uttar Pradesh and another from the North Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (NERDDL) in Assam have visited Tripura and provided necessary assistance to the state officials.
Tripura, bordering bird flu hit Bangladesh, was affected by avian influenza in April and May 2008, forcing the authorities to cull over 200,000 poultry birds then.