Centre Asks Odisha To Cull Poultry After Bird Flu Outbreak

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Bhubaneswar : Odisha ordered the cull of more than 2,500 chickens and other poultry after four dead crows and three dead poultry tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus, officials said on Tuesday.

The Odisha government order came soon after the Centre directed them to take immediate steps to control and contain spread of bird flu virus from the epicentre of Keranga village which is about 35 km from Bhubaneswar.

“The state was intimated of the positive results on December 25. The state was requested to carry out the control and containment operations,” an official statement said.

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More than 30,000 birds were culled in a similar outbreak in the region in 2012.

The state has been asked to complete the necessary actions immediately. It has asked to cull birds and dispose of dead birds and infected materials as well as restrict access to the infected premises, it added.

“We have issued an advisory to follow immediate measures to complete culling operations, surveillance and sanitisation in the infected area,” Commissioner-cum-Secretary of the state’s Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department Bishnupada Sethi told Reuters.

“Over 2,500 poultry birds are being culled within one kilometre of the epicentre for control and containment of bird flu. It’s the first time in the current season that this type of bird flu was detected in the state and in the same area.”.

In addition to culling, the Odisha government has been asked to carry out surveillance over a radius of 10 km from the epicentre. It has also been told to intensify the surveillance to monitor further spread of infection.

The H5N1 strain is considered as highly pathogenic. It can also transmit to animals such as pigs, horse, large cats, dogs and occasionally humans.

China reported two fatalities from H7N9 bird flu last week, its first fatalities among this winter’s cases, stoking fears the virus could spread at a time when other Asian nations are battling to control outbreaks of the disease.

South Korea and Japan have been scrambling to contain outbreaks of different strains of bird flu, with the poultry industry there bracing for heavy financial losses.

The H5N1 strain is, however, less dangerous than the highly contagious H5N8 strain found in several European countries in the past few weeks.