Close to 200,000 poultry have been culled in Manipur with the first phase of the drive against avian influenza likely to end on Thursday as authorities decided to begin a second round of surveillance to stamp out birds from backyard farms.
"We had identified 86 sectors for the culling operation and expect to finish the task by Thursday. We would begin a second round of operation immediately to ensure there are no poultry left in the area," K Gopal, nodal officer of the Animal Disease Control Programme in Manipur, told IANS.
The culling began last week in a five km radius around the farm at Chenngmeirong near state capital Imphal where the deaths were reported. There are an estimated 800 poultry farms in the area.
About 34 Rapid Response Teams with five members in each group led by a veterinarian are involved in the culling with laboratory tests earlier confirming the dead birds had H5NI strains, which are highly pathogenic in nature.
"We shall now begin a massive cleaning and disinfecting drive in the area before taking up the second round of culling operation," Gopal said. There have been no fresh reports of the viral disease spreading to others parts of the state.
Health officials said there were no immediate reports of humans contracting the virus although a massive surveillance campaign was on to ensure safety of the locals. More than 200,000 people have gone through health checkups so far.