Bird flu: Odisha begins culling poultry birds

Bird flu: Odisha begins culling poultry birdsBhubaneswar, Jan 12 - Veterinarians and state officials Thursday began culling poultry birds in parts of Odisha's Khordha district after bird flu was detected in the area.

District Collector Roopa Mishra said the culling operation was started in Keranga area early morning and is likely to continue for a few days. "We will cover about eight villages today," Mishra told IANS.

She said there has been no report of the infection spreading to humans and no one should panic. The decision was taken after the recommendation made by a team of experts who visited the area Wednesday.

The government had recently sent samples of hundreds of birds, mostly crows and poultry, to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal, after hundreds of crows died in some parts of Odisha last fortnight.

The tests confirmed that a chicken of the Keranga area was infected with the deadly H5N1 virus.

Satyabrata Sahu, secretary of the fishery and animal resources department, said the culling of about 40,000 birds would be carried out by 10 teams comprising 80 officials in and around a three km-radius of Keranga village.

Authorities have asked all 30 districts to remain alert. Officials at the Chilika Lake and Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary have been told to keep a watch as they are home to lakhs of winter migratory birds and could easily spread infection over a large area. (IANS)