Assam bird flu: poultry culling on, local resistance hampers drive

December 23rd, 2008 - 6:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Dec 23 (IANS) More than 400,000 poultry have been culled so far in Assam after an outbreak of bird flu three weeks ago. But authorities were unable to complete the killing in some areas due to resistance from locals, officials said Tuesday.”Culling operations are near complete in four of the seven bird flu hit districts, although in the three districts of Chirang, Barpeta, and Bongaigaon, we have not been able to finish the operations due to lack of cooperation from the locals,” Assam Veterinary Commissioner S. Mewra said.

Seven Assam districts were hit by bird flu, killing hundreds of chicken and ducks about three weeks ago.

“We have culled more than 420,000 birds. There have been no reports of fresh deaths or bird flu virus in new areas since last week,” Mewra said.

But lack of cooperation from locals in the three districts was posing a serious health risk, he pointed out. “Bird flu virus could spread to the adjoining areas if locals in the three districts do not cooperate with the culling operations. There are risks of the virus spreading to humans if people resist culling.”

Meanwhile, expert central health teams are continuing door-to-door checks to ensure that the virus does not spread to humans. “So far there are no reports of the virus spreading to humans,” central health ministry official Parthajyoti Gogoi said.

The state government has so far disbursed Rs.10 million as compensation to villagers for the poultry culled as per stipulated norms.

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