BHUBANESWAR: The State Government embarked on a massive culling operation at Keranga village, about 35 km from here, even as avian influenza triggered panic across the State. Tense villagers stormed some of the poultry firms and even decamped with the birds prompting police action.
Ten rapid response teams (RRTs) fanned out to different villages located within 3 km radius of Keranga and began the mass killing of the poultry birds. By the time evening fell, the count of dead birds stood at 2,270.
Two RRTs were mobilised to take over the poultry firms, while the rest concentrated on the villages. There two organised firms in Keranga __ one has about 400 birds whereas the other has a stock of 28,000.
The region, where culling has been ordered, has a total domestic poultry bird population of 40,000 and the Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department, which is carrying out the mass killing, with help from Health Department and Khurda district administration, could take 10 days to complete the operation. The culling exercise started at about 9 am in the area as soon as the RRTs and logistics were ready. The authorities readied a deep pit for mass burial of the culled birds.
‘’The team members need to be isolated and disinfected first. Besides they are not allowed to interact with anyone. A detailed sanitisation procedure has been laid out which has to be followed,” Director of Veterinary Services Benudhar Das said.
Given the protocol, the area will remain sanitised for three months after which fresh tests will be conducted. Poultry farming can be re-started after the tests permit the same. While the culling operation was carried out smoothly, locals stormed some of the local poultry firms.
In Jagatsinghpur district, the Government kept a close watch as Raghunathpur village in Kujang had reported bird deaths. Surveillance teams were pressed into service to inspect mortality while restriction on movement of the birds was also imposed.
Meanwhile, the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory, Bhopal, has confirmed one crow sample, sent from Keranga, H5N1 positive.
Although rampant crow deaths have been reported from across the State, it is for the first time one has been tested H5N1 positive.
Health experts apprehended that the mass deaths of crows could be caused by West Nile Virus which affects birds and has a high killing rate.