Culling begins in West Bengal town hit by bird flu

March 20th, 2008 - 3:12 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, March 20 (IANS) West Bengal Thursday began culling operations in bird flu-hit areas of Malda district with a target to slaughter about 44,000 poultry birds in English Bazaar town within four days. “We have already deployed our Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to the bird flu-affected areas in Malda. The culling operation has started in the morning,” West Bengal Animal Resources Development (ARD) Minister Anisur Rahman told IANS.

He said the culling drive was started from a state-run poultry farm where the bird flu strain had first surfaced.

About 200 chickens have died at the state-run poultry farm since March 13.

The bird flu in English Bazaar was confirmed Wednesday after blood samples sent to Bhopal’s animal disease laboratory tested positive.

“According to the central government’s notification, the culling drive will also cover an area within a three-kilometre radius of the poultry farm,” he said.

According to ARD department sources, over 28,000 poultry birds were culled in Murshidabad district, adjoining Malda, last week.

“We expect to complete the culling operation within four days,” Malda deputy ARD director N.K Shit told IANS.

A bird flu outbreak was first confirmed in West Bengal Jan 15, affecting the districts of South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Birbhum, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan, Bankura, Malda, Cooch Behar, Purulia and West Midnapore.

Around four million poultry birds were culled and the spread of the disease brought under control then.

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