Taking note of the avian influenza outbreak at the Central Poultry Development Organisation in Bangalore, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services has identified two surveillance zones in a 10-km radius of two bird sanctuaries in Mandya district.

The department will launch surveillance in 25 villages on Friday.

The department, in association with other departments, has chalked out a plan to combat the highly pathogenic bird flu (H5N1) virus.

As part of the plan, the department will collect chicken blood samples and droppings of migratory birds in villages in the 10-km radius of the Ranganathittu bird sanctuary and the Gende Hosahalli bird sanctuary near Mahadevapura in the district.

These two places attract a large number of migratory birds from various countries.

“For the first time in the history of these bird sanctuaries, samples are being collected,” K.P. Ravikumar, Assistant Director, Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, told The Hindu here on Thursday.

The Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services Department has formed six teams, each headed by a veterinary surgeon, to collect samples, Mr. Ravikumar said.

The veterinary experts will collect and send the samples to the regional laboratory of the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals (IAHVB) in Mysore, Mr. Ravikumar said.

The IAHVB officials are in touch with the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal, he added.

Though no unnatural bird deaths have been reported in the bird sanctuaries in the district this year, “abnormal behaviour” of birds cannot be neglected, said another officer.

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