Bird flu scare in Assam, 300 poultry dead

November 26th, 2008 - 10:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Nov 26 (IANS) More than 300 poultry birds have died in the past five days in some villages in Assam, fuelling fears of bird flu, officials said here Wednesday, adding that a general alert was sounded in the area.A veterinary department official said up to 300 chicken and ducks died an unnatural death in some villages around Hajo, about 35 km west of Assam’s main city of Guwahati.

“We have sent samples for laboratory tests to Pune and Bangalore for confirmation. We don’t know for sure if the poultry deaths were due to bird flu,” a veterinary department official said requesting not to be named.

Authorities Wednesday imposed a ban on sale of poultry and have sounded a general alert in about 40 villages in a radius of five kilometers from the area where the deaths were reported.

“By Thursday we shall be getting the laboratory test reports and maybe we have to start the culling process as there has been large-scale reports of deaths coming in from nearby areas,” Kamrup district magistrate R.C. Jain said.

“We have imposed a ban on sale and purchase of poultry and have asked people in the area not to consume chicken or duck as a precautionary measure.”

A general health alert was also sounded in the area. Teams of experts are now camping in the area and were contemplating culling birds as a precautionary measure.

Residents of the area said a large number of birds were falling sick.

“We saw normal birds dying almost instantly without any symptoms. Now we find some of the poultry in the area a little sick,” said Biswa Das, a villager.

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