Following marginal rise in temperature, no case reported in past fortnight

Odisha has managed to overcome the bird flu scare last month by selectively carrying out culling at two places in the coastal and northern part of the State.

Following a marginal rise in temperature, not a single positive avian influenza case had been reported during the past fortnight.

The Centre had ordered culling in and around Keranga village in Khurda district and Bahanada village in Mayurbhanj district during the second and third week of January. While 31,886 poultry birds were culled in 3 km radius of Keranga — where the first H5N1 virus in a hen was detected — 11,216 poultry birds were culled at Bahanada.

When researchers of the Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI), Cuttack, went to map areas that witnessed sporadic crow deaths in the last week of December, fears of avian influenza started creeping in.

Initially, dead crows were found in Jagatsinghpur, Keonjhar, Khurda, Balasore and Jajpur districts.

Samples of those crows were sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal.

On January 8, HSADL confirmed that a poultry bird, a sample of which was sent from Keranga, tested positive for H5N1.

The State government restricted the movement of poultry within 3 km radius of the village. Subsequently, the Centre sent two experts to the area. After assessment, they suggested culling.

Four H5N1 positive cases — two crows and two poultry birds — were detected in the State, of which two samples were sent from Keranga and one each from Angul and Bahanada. It is estimated that more than 2,000 crows perished at different places spread across 13 districts of the State.

“Right now we have stopped culling. Since the temperature during the past couple of weeks has gone up by a few degree Celsius, the conditions for avian influenza spreading has become unfavourable. However, we have been continuously sending samples of dead crows and poultry birds to HSADL and Eastern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Kolkata,” said Benudhar Das, Director of State Veterinary Services.