India begins culling of poultry to control spread of bird flu


New Delhi : India Wednesday began to cull poultry in two districts of Eastern Indian state of West Bengal as part of efforts to control the spread of bird flu.

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As many as 1,500 and 2,000 poultry were culled today in West Bengals two affected districts of Birbhum and South Dinajpur respectively, news agency Indo Asian News Service reported.

Talking to reporters here tonight, Pradip Kumar, Secretary of Indian Department of Animal Husbandry said: “West Bengal started the culling operation today and the government has asked neighbouring Indian states of Bihar and Jharkhand to be on alert”.

During the last 10 days, over 55,000 poultry had died in West Bengal, Kumar said.

Indias Northeastern states have been directed to be on alert as well. Indias border with Bangladesh along West Bengal has been sealed, especially in South Dinajpur which shares a long boundary.

In the Birbhum district 55 teams were formed to contain the spread of the virus, the news agency said. Reports of poultry deaths have also come from Murshidabad district, adjoining Birbhum.

The state of Jharkhand today banned import of chicken from West Bengal and formed a team to keep a watch on the situation.

West Bengal is the fifth state in India to have been affected by the H5N1 bird flu since the first case in the Western Indian state Maharashtra in 2006. States of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Manipur were also affected.