2,000 dead birds set off flu fears in Meghalaya

January 9th, 2012 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Shillong, Jan 9 (IANS) Around 2,000 poultry birds have died in the past few weeks on a farm in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district, fuelling fears of bird flu, even as a general alert was sounded in the area, officials said Monday.

A government official said 2,000 chickens died an unnatural death in a government-run poultry farm at Williamnagar, the district headquarter of East Garo Hills, about 312 km west of Meghalaya’s state capital Shillong.

“We have sent samples for laboratory tests to Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory for confirmation. We don’t know for sure if the poultry deaths were due to bird flu,” Praveen Bakshi, the district magistrate, told IANS.

Initially, he said the government has sent samples to a Guwahati-based Laboratory, but it did not yield any results.

“The district administration has taken all precautionary measures and rapid response team has been geared up to take action in case the laboratory confirms bird flu,” Bakshi said.

He said a seven kilometre radius of the area where the birds died has been kept under surveillance.

Meanwhile, the district administration and health and family welfare and veterinary officials are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss on the unnatural deaths of birds at the farm.

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