Bird flu resurfaces, culling likely to start today

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Kolkata, Mar 9 (UNI) Bird flu resurfaced in West Bengal after a month as it struck two villages of Murshidabad districts, prompting the administration to go for fresh culling from today.

''We received the confirmation yesterday that bird flu struck Nayamukundapur in Raghunathgunj Block II and Dohapara village in Murshidabad-Jiagunj block. We are trying to start culling from today itself,'' Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rahman said.

Mr Rahman said a few hundred birds died in those two areas and it was being suspected that the virus could have been transmitted through smuggling of poultry livestock from neighbouring Bangladesh or the villagers had hidden chickens and ducks during culling carried out a month ago.

'' Whatever may be the reason, it is being probed into and necessary action is being taken,'' he said.

About four million birds were culled between January and February in 16 bird flu-hit districts of the state.

On Sunday, the authorities in Murshidabad blared through loudspeakers warning to the villagers to stay away from backyard poultry and cooperate with culling teams.

Official sources said the samples that were recently sent to the National Animal Research Laboratory in Bhopal from the two villages showed the birds were infected.

About 60 rapid response teams would start culling chickens and ducks in the affected areas soon, they said.

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