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Bird flu spreads wings in Assam

A week after bird flu outbreak was confirmed in Thakuria Chuba of Rajabazar village in Kamrup district, it has now spread to some other parts of the district and neighbouring Kamrup (Metro) district, reports Digambar Patowary.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2008 00:56 IST
Digambar Patowary

A week after bird flu outbreak was confirmed in Thakuria Chuba of Rajabazar village in Kamrup (Rural) district, it has now spread to some other parts of the district and neighbouring Kamrup (Metro) district.

“Laboratory test confirmed bird flu virus in Sarapara village in Palasbari revenue circle. We’ll start the culling operation in 11 villages in and around Sarapara from tomorrow,” Kamrup (Rural) Deputy Commissioner R.C. Jain said on Wednesday.

Bird flu also spread to Patgaon village in Kamrup (Metro) district, adjacent to Palasbari circle. A large number of poultry birds died in Patgaon and three neighbouring villages. Samples sent to the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) tested positive.

Assam animal husbandry and veterinary director Aswini Kotoki said the source of the infection were local lakes, where a lot of migratory ducks fly in at the onset of winter. “Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of H5N1 virus. Migratory birds are believed to be the source of this virus,” Kotoki said. He didn’t rule out the possibility of the virus spreading to other districts.

“The infection, first detected in the Hajo area, has now spread to Rampur and Rani on the outskirts of the state capital,” Kotoki said over the phone.

“Culling operation in Hajo villages will be completed by December 5. As many as 51,546 birds have been culled in 48 villages. Around two lakh poultry birds will be culled in both Hajo and Palasbari revenue circles,” Jain said. Twenty five-member teams — including four veterinary department officials and a member of district administration — had been out sent for the job.

Culling has to be carried out in all villages within 3 km radius of the epicentre — where outbreak is detected. Both the district administrations have imposed Section 144 and prohibited sale and movement of poultry birds and products in areas within 10 km of the affected villages.

Some bird owners are not happy with the compensation. The state government has sent a memorandum to the Centre to increase the amount. Culling is done under a scheme of the Union government.

With inputs from Zia Haq in Delhi.