The death of thousands of homebred chickens in Birbhum region over the past one week has prompted district authorities to sound bird flu alert in two blocks.
District Magistrate Tapan Kumar Shome today said, "All departments concerned have been alerted. The villagers have been asked not to sell or buy chicken. They have also been asked to wear masks and cover their hands and legs while feeding birds."
Though neither the district administration nor the veterenary department confirmed an outbreak of birdflu, a preliminary report from the High Security Animal Husbandry Laboratory in Bhopal has apparently confirmed the disease affecting poultry there, official sources said.
N D Bhowmick, deputy director of states Aimal Resource Department, said, "The pattern of 60-62 per cent mortality rate is alarming in the block II of Rampurhat. The Rampurhat block I have also reported some cases.
"Samples had been collected and sent to the Bhopal laboratory. But right now we cannot describe it as an outbreak of bird flu because the laboratory will submit its final report to the department concerned of the Central government and they will make the necesary announcement," Bhowmick said.
The problem was that the birds affected are homebred, the sources said.