Shillong: Meghalaya government on Sunday turned to churches and market places to create awareness and to ward off rumours to contain the spread of bird-flu in Williamnagar town of East Garo Hills district, officials said.
"Since the district has a vast majority Christian population, Churches bodies are the most viable means of communication," a senior district administrator told a news agency.
The district administration has expressed concern on reports of dumping of dead animals and fowls in Simsang river.
"Communication experts of the district have been formed and 15 teams have been dispatched with materials to ward off rumours and help contain the virus," District deputy commissioner Pravin Bakshi said.
He said, "Mass media campaign is being monitored and different reporting is viewed negatively."
"Rumours spread fast and there were reports of several localities slaughtering pigs in panic to sell," Bakshi said.
The district with a population density of 122 inhabitants per square kilometre has a population of 3,17,618 persons, as per 2011 census.
While the district administration is focussing in the 10 km radius from the government-run farm in which the flu was detected last week, Rapid Response Teams were pressed into service to mop the area, the official said.
In three days, more than 1800 fowls were culled while more than 1000 eggs were destroyed within one kilometer from the epicentre as part of precautionary measures taken by district administration to contain the spread of H1n1 virus.
He said the district administration is contemplating to issue an order to prevent free roaming of pigs.
Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory has confirmed that blood samples sent was detected with bird-flu on January 11.