Over 1.16 lakh poultry birds died in West Bengal till January 22

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New Delhi, Jan 23 (UNI) Over 1.16 lakh poultry birds died in West Bengal of which 2407 birds died in Murshidabad, Nadia and Bankura districts till January 22, official sources said today.

The sources said the bird flu has spread to almost half of West Bengal with Cooch Behar and Hoogly being added to the list of districts affected by the disease even as the authorities said they may have to raise the target of culling 20 lakh chicken. Death of chicken was also reported from district Howrah, bordering Kolkata.

Even in the already affected districts of Nadia and Murshidabad districts, more blocks have reported the disease, local administration officials said.

"Samples of chicken sent from Cooch Behar and Hooghly districts to the High-Risk Security Disease Laboratory (HSDL) in Bhopal yesterday tested positive," said the state's Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rahaman.

The nine districts -- Birbhum, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, Burdwan, Nadia, Bankura, Malda, Cooch Behar and Hoogly -- out of 19 in the state have so far fallen prey to avian flu. "Steps are being taken to officially notify both districts (Cooch Behar and Hoogly) as bird flu affected for the next course of action including culling," Mr Rahaman added.

The samples which tested positive were from Dinhata in Cooch Behar district and Balagarh in Hooghly district. There was, however, no case of humans beings being affected by the avian flu.

The target of culling, set at 20 lakh spread over seven days, was also likely to be raised.

With 600 teams on the job the daily target has now been raised to three lakh, sources added.

UNI/BKS AM KP1922

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