Gargi Parsai

Bird flu is H5N1 strain

No reports of any human infection so far

Operations continues in eight villages

NEW DELHI: Even as culling of poultry began around the bird flu-affected village in Manipur on Thursday, the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal confirmed that the highly pathogenic H5 virus that caused mortality in the backyard poultry unit was the N1 variety. This strain had hit poultry in parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat last year.

“The highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in a village near Imphal has been confirmed as the H5N1 variety. This, however, does not signal any change in the control and containment strategy,” said Union Animal Husbandry joint secretary Upma Chawdhry.

There are no reports of any human infection so far. No fresh case of unusual mortality of poultry has been reported from Manipur or any other part of the country, Ms. Chawdhry said.

Manipur Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh convened a high-level meeting of the departments concerned, agencies and local representatives to determine the strategy for control and containment of bird flu. The infected and surveillance zones were identified. The implementation of the control and containment operations is the responsibility of the State Administration.

On the first day, culling operation was done in eight villages around Chinmeirong where 132 birds died in six days from July 7. Over 1.5-lakh poultry are slated to be stamped out in a radius of five km around the village in six days. Of these, 75,000 birds are in backyard units. The approximate population of ducks in the area where culling is to take place are 28,000. The culling would cover 128 small poultry units.

The Government would compensate farmers for the destruction of birds at the rate of Rs.10 per chick, Rs.30 per broiler and Rs. 40 per layer.

The State Government has banned the movement of poultry and poultry products in the affected area.

In New Delhi, there were apprehensions of the demand for chicken and eggs going down even though the Animal Husbandry Department had declared that it is perfectly safe to eat well-cooked eggs and chicken.

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