Mass cull begins in bird-flu hit Tripura

April 8th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, April 8 (IANS) Authorities in Tripura Tuesday began a massive cull to slaughter some 25,000 poultry after laboratory tests confirmed that birds in the area have been affected by avian influenza, officials said. “The culling operations would take at least a week,” said Aghore Debbarma, agriculture and animal resource development (ARDD) minister.

More than 3,000 chickens, ducks, crows and other birds had died in the past two weeks prompting authorities to go for laboratory tests, which confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus.

The culls are being carried out at Mohanpur and Malaya villages, 150 km north of here. The area is located along the border with Bangladesh.

“Some 100 veterinary officials are engaged in the culling drive spread over nine villages in Dhalai district,” the minister said.

To prevent spread of the contiguous disease, movement of vehicles to and from these villages has been restricted.

The state forest department has also asked its officials to keep a watch on Tripura’s 10 big water bodies where migratory birds from India and abroad are currently breeding.

The state government has banned the sale and consumption of poultry and poultry products in the affected and adjoining villages of Dhalai district.

“In Bangladesh, altogether 19 districts were affected by bird flu and it would not be wrong to say that the virus may have come to India’s adjoining areas of Kamalpur from Maulvi Bazar (in Bangladesh), which is close to the border town,” the minister said.

“We have asked the BSF (Border Security Force) to maintain a strict vigil along the Indo-Bangladesh border to prevent illegal trade of poultry and poultry products from Bangladesh,” he added.

Fifteen of Tripura’s 17 sub-divisions fall along the 856 km international border with Bangladesh.

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