Source of avian influenza not yet traced, says official

Over 33,000 birds at the Central Poultry Development Organisation at Hesaraghatta, near Bangalore, will now be culled to prevent the spread of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1), and the culling exercise will be extended to a 1-km radius around the CPDO.

The announcement came on Monday evening, five days after the Union government notified the outbreak of avian influenza in turkeys at the CPDO and 206 chickens dying of the disease on Saturday and Sunday.

More to be culled

In all, 19,235 poultry, 13,673 ducks and 369 emus at the CPDO will be culled and disposed of quickly by a rapid response team, a Department of Animal Husbandry communiqué said. So far, the CPDO has reported the death of 3,600 turkeys, following which about 700 turkeys were culled. Arvind Jannu, Principal Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry, told The Hindu the source of the avian influenza had not yet been traced, though migratory or wild birds are suspects. “To stop the spread of the virus, we are ready to cull all the birds in the CPDO.”

Visitors have been barred at all the units on the sprawling 150-acre campus and police personnel deployed at the gates. Though the culling area has been extended to a 1-km radius, Mr. Jannu clarified there were no private farms in this area. Also, no unusual death of birds has been noticed in the 10-km surveillance zone, where 10 teams collected 81 blood samples.

“Samples of blood, throat swabs and faeces are being collected from my poultry farm on a regular basis. We have been advised to sanitise our farms also,” a poultry farmer in the surveillance zone told The Hindu.

Centre’s advice

Speaking to The Hindu in Gulbarga, Animal Husbandry Minister Revu Naik Belamagi said culling was done following the Union government’s advice.

The ban on sale of chicken and eggs within a 10-km radius of the Hesaraghatta farm, effective till October 31, would be extended by another week as a precautionary measure.