Bird Flu affects 11 Bengal districts; Experts from outside deployed

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Kolkata, Jan 25 (UNI) The Bird Flu virus, raging in West Bengal, spread further today, affecting two more districts even as experts from other states joined the operation to contain the disease.

State Health Secretary Dilip Chakraborty said the disease was detected in one block each of Purulia and Howrah districts.

With this, altogether eleven out of the state's 19 districts have been affected by the deadly disease.

Admitting that Kolkata was under threat of the fast spreading virus, Mr Chakraborty said culling operation was going on in full swing.

He said so far more than one million poultry birds had been culled and about 1.5 lakh eggs destroyed in the process.

While the Government had set a target of culling 2.1 million chickens in the affected areas, Mr Chakraborty said the operation was expected to be over in the next few days.

In all 23 teams of veterinary experts from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Assam had been working in different areas of West Bengal to assist the state health service workers in the fight against the disease, he stated.

To a question, Mr Chakraborty said the Government was contemplating alternative livelihood for the poor people, who have been affected by the mass culling.

Meanwhile, all Northeastern states bordering Bangladesh had been alerted against entry of poultry products from across the international border, Dr K M Bujarbaruah, Head of the Animal Science Division of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, told UNI in Shillong today.

'' The situation is a bit serious in West Bengal, because the bird flu is happening at the household backyards, making it difficult for speedy culling operation, '' he iterated.

He said when the bird flu hit Maharashtra, where poultry is organised at a farm level, it was very easy to launch a sweeping culling operation and contain the infection at a short time.

''The scenario is totally different in case of West Bengal as poultry is raised at a small, household scale, ''Dr Bujarbarauh added.

The senior ICAR official stated that lack of understanding as to how to deal with the backyard poultry management in a crisis situation had complicated the problem.

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