Over 4,000 poultry culled in bird-flu hit Sikkim

January 27th, 2009 - 4:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) Over 4,000 poultry birds have been culled in Sikkim in the past one week since a bird flu outbreak was reported in the northeastern state, health officials said here Tuesday.Culling started a day after the outbreak was reported Jan 19. “We have completed our culling operations and about 4,091 birds have been killed,” said an official.

A central rapid response team from the health ministry, which was rushed to Gangtok, is assisting state health authorities in planning the containment measures.

Apart from conducting house-to-house human surveillance, health workers are treating over 30 people who are suffering from fever. “All these people had no exposure to infected poultry,” the official said.

The Department of Animal Husbandry had Jan 19 notified the outbreak of bird flu in poultry in the Hospital Road locality of Ravongla Municipality in south Sikkim district.

No human case of avian influenza has been reported in the country.

The official said they were undertaking a massive awareness campaign about bird flu in the state - by distributing pamphlets and making announcements through radio and television channels.

The health ministry has also provided medicines, protective equipment and masks to health workers.

The outbreak of the virus has been confirmed in West Bengal and Assam. A total of 483,726 birds have been culled in the two states, the official said.

Avian influenza was reported in Assam Nov 27 and in west Bengal almost three weeks later.

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