Culling of birds ending but UAE bans poultry import


New Delhi/Imphal : Disease control authorities Tuesday announced the near-completion of the culling of chickens, ducks and pigeons in the northeastern state of Manipur in order to tackle an avian influenza outbreak even as the United Arab Emirates banned imports of poultry and poultry products from India.

Support TwoCircles

According to the animal husbandry department in New Delhi, 185,231 poultry have been culled over the past six days, with no fresh cases of avian flu having been detected in Manipur or anywhere else in the country.

“The culling operation has been quite successful and maybe in a day or two we will be able to wind up the drive. There are no fresh reports of the virus spreading in other parts of the state,” K. Gopal, nodal officer of the Animal Disease Control Programme in Manipur, told IANS.

The culling began last Thursday over a five km-radius around a farm at Chenngmeirong, near the state capital Imphal, from where the bird deaths were reported on July 11. There are an estimated 800 poultry farms in the area.

Authorities said the culling and disposal will be followed by mopping, cleaning up and disinfection.

However, the UAE followed the example of Sri Lanka by announcing a ban on imports of Indian birds as a precautionary measure.

The ban by the UAE ministry of environment and water covers “all domestic and wild birds, including ornamental birds and their products”, WAM news agency said.

The decision was taken as a precaution after a warning by the World Organisation for Animal Health on the emergence of bird flu cases in India, said UAE Environment Minister Mohammed Saeed Al Kindi.

Indian health officials said there were no reports of human avian flu infection. Nevertheless, authorities had launched a massive surveillance campaign to ensure the safety of locals. More than 200,000 people in Manipur have undergone health checkups so far.

Authorities said 34 Rapid Response Teams with five members in each group led by a veterinarian were involved in the culling.

India confirmed the outbreak of the diseases July 25 after two government laboratories in the cities of Bhopal and Pune found the H5NI strains of the avian flu in the dead bird samples from Manipur.

The union health ministry said it was keeping a close watch on the culling.

“Our experts are keeping a close watch on the drive and it’s good news that after so many health check ups not a single human infection case has surfaced,” a health ministry official said.

Officials in New Delhi said that they had rushed supplies of disinfectants and other material required for control and containment in Manipur.

“The central government has issued an advisory to the Northeastern states to restrain from imposing any restrictions on the inter-state movement of poultry and poultry products and to intensify surveillance on the border with the countries that have reported outbreaks of avian influenza,” said an animal husbandry department official.