Culling begins in Manipur, poultry shops banned in surveillance zone after bird flu outbreak

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Imphal, April 22: The outbreak of avian influenza at the research centre has evoked a number of questions and there is a strong suspicion that bird flu is endemic to Manipur. Following the outbreak of avian influenza at the poultry unit of ICAR Lamphelpat, culling and burying of poultry birds has begun.

It is reported that some chickens reared at the same poultry unit died of an unknown disease last year.
Chickens reared at the poultry unit which died or have been killed because of bird flu were 30 weeks old and were laying eggs. They were brought as chicks from Hyderabad in September last year, said an ICAR official.

Out of 940 chicks brought from the Directorate of Poultry Research, Hyderabad, around 150 died or were killed in the last couple of days, news agency The Sangai Express reported.

If the chickens were infected by avian influenza virus when they were chicks, they could have died much earlier.

Now many quarters have been asking whether avian influenza is endemic to Mani-pur which breaks out when the weather condition is favourable to the virus.

At the same time, it is also possible that the virus was transmitted to the ICAR’s poultry unit from outside. This assumption cannot be brushed aside as the location of the research centre is swampy, said the official.

Meanwhile, briefing media persons about the outbreak of avian influenza, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Director Dr N Rajendro specu- lated that the avian influenza virus was transmitted to the poultry unit from urine and dungs of migratory birds.

Rapid response teams of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department culled more chickens reared at the poultry unit today too.

Altogether 122 chickens were culled today. Chickens reared within one Kms radius of the epicentre (ICAR complex) would be culled and buried tomorrow.

Counting of chickens and ducks reared within the 10 Kms radius (surveillance zone) of the epicentre would be also be kick-started.

On the other hand, the Imphal West Deputy Commissioner convened a joint meeting of district administration, Veterinary, Police and medical staff and discussed about the outbreak of avian influenza and counter measures to tackle it.

On being enquired about the possible action that may be taken up against people found concealing poultry birds and if there is no restriction on selling chickens within the infected and surveillance zones, Dr Rajendro maintained that all poultry birds found within the infected and surveillance zones must be culled and there should be restriction on selling chickens within these zones.

Police should prohibit transportation of poultry birds from one place to another.

The Director also appealed to all the people rearing poultry birds within the infected and surveillance zones not to conceal their poultry birds.

Meanwhile, a notice issued by Imphal West DC Ningthoujam Goeffrey has banned transportation of bird flu infected poultry birds as well as their eggs.

Rearing poultry birds within the infected zone has been banned for the next three months while sale and transportation of chickens, ducks and eggs have been banned within the surveillance zone.

The DC’s order also banned sale of poultry products, poultry feeds and eggs within 10 Km radius of the ICAR complex.

It further asked the Forest Department to ensure that wild and stray birds do not have access to poultry, poultry sheds and water supplies in the infected area.

Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department has also been directed to set up drop-gates on all outgoing roads from the infected area.

At the same time, the All Manipur Poultry Farmers and traders Association (AMPFATA) has held a meeting today regarding the outbreak of Bird Flu and submitted a three-point memo to the CM and other officials concerned. The Association will hold another meeting on Apr 22 at Manipur Press Club.

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