More than 500,000 poultry have been culled in Assam in the past one month while authorities on Friday warned that the bird flu virus was spreading to new areas, officials said.
An Assam government spokesman said the bird flu virus was confirmed in about 15 more villages and the authorities have ordered culling of an estimated 70,000 birds.
"So far about 150 villages in eight Assam districts were hit by bird flu and Rapid Response Teams have already slaughtered about 510,000 chickens and ducks since Nov 27," a veterinary department official said.
The new bird flu cases were reported from the districts of Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Baksa, Bongaigaon and Nagaon.
"We have so far identified 19 epicentres affected by bird flu in Assam. Culling operations in newly affected areas have already begun, while in some places the drive is almost complete," the official said.
An estimated amount of Rs.10.35 million was paid as compensation to people whose poultry were culled. In most parts of Assam authorities have banned sale and consumption of poultry and poultry products.
"It is a matter of worry as the virus has now spread to new areas. A maximum health alert has been sounded with teams of doctors and paramedics taking precautionary measures so that humans are not affected," Parthajyoti Gogoi, regional director (northeast) of the central health and family welfare department, told IANS.
The Indian health ministry confirmed outbreak of bird flu after laboratory tests found strains of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza.