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Bird flu: Culling operation begins in Tripura

Written by: Staff

{image-bird flu_24042008.jpg news.oneindia.in}Agartala, Apr 24: Following a fresh outbreak of bird flu in Tripura, an estimated 60,000 birds will be culled in the eight gram panchayat areas of West Tripura district on Thursday.

According to official sources, 60,000 birds would be culled in the eight gram panchayat areas, which fall within the five-km radius of Mohanpur village, samples from where had tested positive. Over 28 Rapid Response Team personnel of the Animal Resources Department have been pressed into service for culling operation. A red alert has been sounded to prohibit import of poultry from outside the State, including neighbouring Bangladesh, which shares a 856 kilometres porous border with Tripura.

Checkpoints have been put in place to stop the transportation of chickens or poultry products outside the bird-flu zone.

Border guards along India's 864-kilometre border with Bangladesh, which all but surrounds the tiny state, have been put on a state of high alert.

This is the second time that the deadly bird flu virus has been detected in the state, a little more than a week after the culling of thousands of chickens was completed to contain the spread of the disease.

Laboratory tests confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus in dead chickens in Tripura.

Indian officials have expressed fears the virus may be spreading from Bangladesh.

Tripura is the second state after West Bengal in the country's east to report an outbreak of avian influenza this year.

Earlier this month, more than 40,000 birds were culled in the state following an outbreak of the disease.

India, which reported its first outbreak of avian flu in 2006, has not reported any human infections yet.

The H5N1 strain of the virus has killed more than 230 people worldwide since late 2003. Health experts fear the strain could mutate into a form easily transmitted from person to person, leading to a pandemic.


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