BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Government on Thursday sounded bird flu alert and ordered culling of birds in four villages of Puri district after four samples tested positive for potentially deadly virus H5N1.The culling of birds in all poultry farms in Sanasahi, Maluda, Alanda and Patharaganja villages of Krushnaprasad block will start from Friday.
Secretary of Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (FARD) department Vishal Gagan said the district officials have been asked to cull birds and dispose of the carcasses and infected materials as well as restrict access to infected areas.“Culling operation will be carried out within one km radius of the affected villages. The administration has been asked to carry out surveillance within 10 km radius of the epicentre. Movement of poultry and poultry products has been restricted,” he said.
The State Government has urged people not to get panic as chickens from the affected areas have not been supplied to markets. As the affected villages are close to Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon Chilika, the avian influenza is suspected to have spread from migratory birds that are on their annual winter sojourn.
The FARD Secretary said 20 samples of crows, chicks and ducks were collected by the Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI) and sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal following deaths of large number of crows and poultry birds in the four villages.
“We have received the test reports. Two crow samples and two poultry bird samples have tested positive for bird flu. We have issued standard operating procedure regarding the culling of birds and precautionary measures to be taken during and after the process,” he said.Meanwhile, the State Government has banned use of eggs in Mid-Day Meals and Anganwadi centres in Puri district following the reports of bird flu.
School and Mass Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra said schools and anganwadi centres have been asked not to provide eggs to children for next 10 days as a precautionary measure.It has also been decided to intensify information, education and communication activities with distribution of literature concerning the disease and how to guard against it in the bordering districts.The Government has directed the Forest Department to keep vigil over major water bodies that attract migratory birds. Guidelines have been issued to Chief District Veterinary Officers (CDVOs) on bio-security measures to be adopted by farm owners as well as sellers.