Culling in Tripura to be complete by Friday, say officials

April 10th, 2008 - 11:31 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, April 10 (IANS) The operations to slaughter 42,000 poultry birds in Tripura’s bird-flu affected villages are expected to be completed by Friday, officials said here Thursday. “After the union government notified Tripura as bird flu hit Monday, we have started mass culling of birds in the bordering villages of Dhalai district Tuesday, and till Wednesday 25,700 birds were culled,” said Ashish Roy Burman, director of the Animal Resource Development Department (ARDD).

“We would slaughter 16,000 more birds, mostly chickens, Thursday and Friday to complete the mass culling in 10 villages of Kamalpur sub-division, bordering Bangladesh,” Burman, who along with senior officials of state and union government, has been camping in the affected areas since Sunday, told IANS by phone.

There were reports of fresh deaths of birds in Belonia in south Tripura and Bishalgarh, Sonamura and Khowai in west Tripura in the past three days.

“Blood samples of the dead birds are being sent to the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory for testing,” the official said.

Burman said a number of rapid response teams and surveillance group have fanned out in the villages along the 856 km-long border with Bangladesh to collect blood samples of dead birds.

The Central Rapid Response Team (RRT) from the union ministry of health and family welfare is assisting the state authorities in the culling operations.

The union ministry has supplied 500 personal protective equipments, 200 N-95 masks, 5,000 capsules of Tamiflu and two ventilators.

“Intense house-to-house surveillance in the bird flu affected villages has been continuing. The health teams have covered a population of over 2,500 and there is no suspect case of human avian influenza,” an official release here said.

Culling operations were intensified Thursday with 20 rapid response teams (RRT), comprising 200 ARDD officials and associates, deployed in Dhalai district’s bordering villages, 150 km north of capital Agartala.

A separate isolation ward has been created at the Bimal Sinha Memorial government hospital at Kamalpur in Dhalai district and the union health ministry has rushed three specialist doctors.

More than 3,000 chickens, ducks, crows and other birds had died in the last two weeks in Dhalai district’s Malaya and Mohanpur villages, adjoining Bangladesh. This prompted authorities to go in for laboratory tests, which confirmed the presence of the deadly virus.

The Border Security Force (BSF) has been maintaining a strict vigil along the international border to prevent illegal trade of poultry and poultry products from the neighbouring country, whose 19 of the 64 districts have been affected by bird flu.

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