Dead chickens in gunny bags sparks bird flu fears

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Kancheepuram, Jan 20 (UNI) The detection of 300 dead chickens, packed in three gunny bags and dumped near a crematorium here, today sparked fears of bird flu even as the District Collector has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Sources here said the gunny bags were found on a small bridge in Chinna Kancheepuram. On information, Ward Councillor Manoharan informed the same to Municipality Commissioner Venkatesan. A sample of five chickens were taken for chemical testing while the rest were buried.

Authorities are also investigating if the chickens were dumped by those from a nearby poultry farm. District Collector Santosh K Misra said he had ordered an inquiry by the veterinary officials and sought to allay the fears of the public on any outbreak of H5N1 virus here.

The Tamil Nadu Government, on January 18, discounted any fears of bird flu in the state and said people could consume chicken and eggs without any apprehension.

Animal Husbandry Minister Geetha Jeevan said the government had taken all precautionary measures and 'people need not have any apprehensions.' After the Centre confirmed the outbreak of the deadly disease in two districts of West Bengal, the State Government had sent serum samples of chicken from various parts of the state to the Central Laboratory in Bangalore and the results proved negative.

''The samples are being sent periodically to monitor the situation,'' she added.

As part of preventive measures, it was decided to stop rearing chickens and all vehicles, coming from West Bengal, were subjected to thorough checks.

Steps had been taken to ensure the poultry business in Namakkal remains unaffected, she said, adding ''officials are also keeping close vigil over the 14 bird sanctuaries in the state.'' As many as 200 'strike teams' have been formed to visit poultry farms and take immediate steps in case there is any sign of outbreak of the disease.

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