BHUBANESWAR: With avian influenza H5N1 reported from Khurda's Keranga village for the first time after 2011-12, the Odisha Government on Monday ordered culling of the poultry birds in the infected area from Tuesday.
After unusual mortality was reported among chicken in Keranga, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department had sent samples to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) at Bhopal. The samples tested positive for H5N1 virus.
Basing on the advisory of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries under the Ministry of Agriculture, an area in 1 km radius of Keranga (epicentre) was demarcated as infected zone, Commissioner-cum- Secretary Bishnupada Sethi said.
Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have been mobilised to take up culling from Tuesday. Officers, who were engaged during the last outbreak of bird flu in 2011-12, have been asked to participate in the operational work of control and report to the Chief Divisional Veterinary Officer, Khordha Dr Manas Ranjan Mohapatra.
In fact, an initial survey of the veterinary wing had pegged the number of birds at 1,998 but a subsequent enumeration saw that villagers had started deflating the number of birds whose count stood at 1,200. Sub-Collector and Tehsildar visited the place to convince villagers not to suppress the number of birds since it could have hazardous impact.
Besides, the villagers would be compensated for the loss as per the approved rate of the Government of India.
While a control room has been opened at the Directorate of Animal Husbandry to monitor the situation and to disseminate information, RRTs have also been formed for surveillance in the 1 to 10 km radius area of Keranga, which is identified as the alert zone.
As per the advisory, an absolute ban on movement of poultry or its products from and to Keranga and the region in 1 km radius of it is being imposed.
All poultry and egg markets as well as shops will be shut down. There will also be restriction on movement of people to and from farm premises. Those working in poultry farms would not be allowed to visit similar other farms.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, N-95 masks, formalin and sodium hydroxide for protection and disinfection of the infected area were supplied from the Directorate and Odisha Biological Products Institute (OBPI).
All logistics for the purpose have been sent to Khurda while persons involved with the culling operations would be administered with Oseltamivir, the antiviral drug.
Awareness among the public on avian influenza will be created so that all the measures are undertaken without creating any panic among the poultry owners and consumers, the department informed.