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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Bird Flu in Patna: Culling of 15,000 birds begins

The department has constituted five teams, each comprising six people including two casual labourers, for undertaking culling, which began on Friday noon.

patna Updated: Jan 05, 2019 15:13 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
“Experts said migratory birds may have caused bird flu through their droppings. There are bird sanctuaries in Munger and Danapur in Patna
“Experts said migratory birds may have caused bird flu through their droppings. There are bird sanctuaries in Munger and Danapur in Patna(HT Photo)
         

Culling of around 15,000 poultry birds began Friday at Mubarakchak village in Jamalpur block of Munger district as the government stepped up its efforts to contain H5N1 avian influenza or bird flu, which had now gripped two blocks in Munger, besides affecting the Patna zoo.

“On the first day of the exercise at Mubarakchak village, around 1,300 birds were culled,” said N Vijayalakshmi, secretary, animal and fisheries resources department (AFRD).

The survey undertaken as part of preparing a micro plan to contain the virus had mapped 15,500 poultry birds in 1-km radius of Mubarakchak village, where a poultry bird was found dead earlier this week. The National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, on Wednesday confirmed that the death was due to H5N1.

AFRD sources, which undertook the survey, said the count of poultry birds in the village could still be higher as the 1-km radius of the infected zone also includes urban areas.

“The infected zone covers at least 12-13 poultry farms in urban areas of Munger sadar, Jamalpur town, and several municipal wards,” said an AFRD official.

The department has constituted five teams, each comprising six people including two casual labourers, for undertaking culling, which began on Friday noon.

Vijayalakshmi said the teams had come from the National Institute of Veterinary Epidemiology Disease Informatics, Bengaluru, the Regional Disease Diagnositic Laboratory, Kolkata, and the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal.

“Experts said migratory birds may have caused bird flu through their droppings. There are bird sanctuaries in Munger and Danapur in Patna,” added Vijayalakshmi.

Separate teams from the ministry of health and family welfare were also here, said state epidemiologist Dr Ragini Mishra.

The AFRD was also giving compensation to poultry owners for the birds culled, as per norms fixed by the Central government.

District animal husbandry officer Shrawan Kumar said as per government norms, chicks up to six weeks would fetch a compensation of Rs 20 each. The compensation for over six-week old egg-laying hen, also called layer, was Rs 90 each, while that of over six-week old broiler chicken (for consumption as meat) was Rs 70.

The AFRD, through its internal resources, had earmarked Rs 42 lakh for monitoring of bird flu. The money had been allocated to the Institute of Animal Health and Production, Patna, as well as district animal husbandry officers in the state, said director Vinod Singh Gunjiyal.

This is the second instance of bird-culling in the district. The authorities had culled 588 poultry birds at Gorho village in Asarganj block of the district between December 22 and 23, following reports of crow deaths due to bird flu.

Reports of deaths of birds have poured in from other districts, including Bhagalpur and Nawada. In Patna, bird deaths have been reported from the College of Arts and Crafts as well as the Patna Women’s College and the veterinary college. Government officials have, however, said the H5N1 virus was confined only to the two blocks of Munger and the Patna zoo.

So far, more than 500 samples of dead avian species, outside the Patna zoo, have been sent for laboratory tests to Bhopal. Results are awaited.

The H5N1 avian influenza in the state has so far claimed lives of 200 birds, including seven peacocks and a khalij pheasant at the Patna zoo, which has been closed to public from December 25. Unconfirmed reports, however, put the death toll of birds in the state at over 1000 since the outbreak of the disease in Munger on December 3.

First Published: Jan 05, 2019 15:13 IST