Avian flu reported in Tripura, over 3,000 ducks being culled

Avian-fluAgartala, Feb 18 : With a fresh outbreak of bird flu being reported in Tripura, the mass culling of more than 3,000 ducks began Friday in the western part of the state, officials said here.

"We started culling of ducks and other poultry birds Friday. We have told officials to complete the culling drive at the R. K. Nagar government animal firm at the earliest," Tripura government's animal resource development department (ARDD) joint director Jyotirmoy Chakraborty told IANS.

He said: "After the death of some ducks and birds we have sent samples to various local and outside laboratories. The Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (ERDDL) in Kolkata and High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal have confirmed that the samples from the government farm are positive for H5 strain of Avian Influenza."

"It has been decided to immediately commence the culling of birds and destruction of eggs and feed material among other things so as to control further spread of the disease without loss of time," the official added.

It has also been decided that all the ducks and poultry birds would be culled within a radius of 3 km of the focus of infection, including the neighbouring State Duck Breeding Farm.

"Already over 2,000 ducks have been culled Friday in the government firm," an official Bimal Krishna Das said.

According to the officials, in addition to the culling strategy surveillance would be carried out over a further radius up to 10 km to monitor further spread of infection, if any.

"The state government has been asked to furnish a daily report on the control and containment operations to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture," an official release said.

The northeastern state of Tripura was affected by avian influenza in April and May 2008, forcing the authorities to cull over 200,000 poultry birds.(IANS)