19 villages declared restricted zone; samples being sent to labs

Maintaining high preparedness to deal with the bird flu scare in Khurda district, the Odisha government on Tuesday kept rapid action teams and groups of veterinarians ready.

Nineteen villages, within a three-km radius of Keranga, where A(H5N1) virus was first detected in hen and duck, have been declared a restricted zone.

Experts from Kolkata and New Delhi visited the Keranga village to take stock of the situation.

“We are keeping a close watch on the situation. Samples of dead birds are being sent to different laboratories. The Centre is seriously going through the reports. Whatever appropriate direction the Centre gives to control the situation will be followed,” said Fisheries and Animal Resources Development (ARD) Secretary Satyabrata Sahu.

Khurda Collector Roopa Mishra said 30 veterinarians and 60 livestock inspectors, besides forest and police department personnel, were asked to stay prepared. Vaccination has already been launched. Tara Charan Pan, an expert from the Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (RDDL), Kolkata, said that based on the ground situation, all possible measures would be considered. The ARD Department started orienting veterinarians and livestock inspectors to the issue of killing and burying infected birds.

Meanwhile, the Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI) at Phulnakhara, Cuttack, continued to send samples of dead crows to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal. About 300 samples have already been despatched.

The ADRI also found dead crows at Betanati in Mayurbhanj district, an indication of disturbing times ahead.

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