Fresh cases of avian influenza or bird flu have been detected in another Tripura poultry farm, and culling of birds is expected to start on Monday, an official said on Sunday.
"At least 400 poultry birds have died since March 1 at the Gandhi Gram government poultry farm. Central government experts tested the samples of the dead birds and found them positive for the H5 strain of avian influenza," Tripura animal resource development department Joint Director Jyotirmoy Chakraborty told IANS.
He said: "For further confirmation, the samples have been sent to the Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ERDDL) in Kolkata and the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal. Reports from both the laboratories are expected by late Sunday."
According to officials, if the two reports are confirmed positive for the H5 strain of avian influenza, the culling of birds would start from Monday at the government poultry farm where more than 7,000 poultry birds are lodged.
The Gandhi poultry farm, 30 km north of Agartala in western Tripura, is situated between several villages.
The authorities, after culling more than 6,000 ducks and poultry birds in western Tripura last month, had sounded a bird flu alert and had intensified surveillance across the bordering state.
With the disease's outbreak at the Radha Kishore Nagar government farm, 25 km north of Agartala, the government has taken measures to check its spread in other areas.
"After culling operations, the mopping, cleaning, disinfection processes have also been completed at the government-run farm and adjoining three-four villages. Now our officials have been maintaining special observations in these areas and other parts of the state," Chakraborty said.
The government has also imposed a ban on import of poultry birds, ducks and other poultry products from outside the state.
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 Bangladesh, was affected by avian influenza in April and May 2008, forcing the authorities to cull over 200,000 poultry birds then.