Unknown disease claims thousands of birds in Tripura

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Agartala, Apr 1 (UNI) Almost thousands of birds, including chickens and ducks, have died of an unknown disease in the Bangladesh-bordering villages of Kamalpur division in north Tripura during the past fortnight, BSF officials said here today.

The villagers had reportedly been noticing abnormal tiredness among the birds, both domestic and wild, and they died subsequently.

Nine dogs and three jackals, who had consumed the birds, were also found dead, the villagers said.

BSF Commandant Monjit Singh said the villagers had dumped the birds near the wire fencing in open places along the Indo-Bangladesh border on several occasions, which were consumed by dogs and jackals, who died subsequently.

State Animal Resource Department (ARD) officials said specialists have been sent to the villages today and they would collect blood samples of both dead and alive birds for investigation as well as to provide immediate medication to contain the spread of the disease.

''We have already passed the message among the BSF and other administrative sources to prevent the villagers from consuming the birds before getting clearance from ARD experts. The BSF has also been requested to keep a close vigil on the border, since the entire stretch is remote and close to Bangladesh,'' ARD Deputy Director of Dhalai district B K Das said.

Earlier, the detection of the H5N1 virus in chickens at the small poultry farms in Moulabibazar district of Bangladesh had prompted the Tripura government to take measures to stop the movement of poultry products between two countries but no case of avian influenza of the H5N1 strain was found in the state yet.

Alarmed by the spread of bird flu from east Asian countries and considering the vulnerability of the region, authorities in Northeastern states have strengthened preventive measures to check the possible spread of the dreaded disease.

The vast network of wetlands and rivers in the entire region provides a suitable home for winter birds and a major stopover for migratory birds, which has made it especially vulnerable to the flu and a few cases were also detected in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram last year.

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