Bird flu resurfaces in Tripura



Agartala: Bird flu influenza has resurfaced in Tripura after one-and-a-half months, an official said here on Sunday.

Animal resources development department director Manoranjan Sarkar said samples of sick birds from the state-owned Gandhigram Poultry Farm in western Tripura were found to contain the H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus.

Bhopal's High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) had Saturday confirmed the presence of the H5N1 virus in the affected birds.

Sarkar said that the culling of poultry and ducks in the firm and in villages in a three km radius would start after getting instructions from the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries under the union agriculture ministry.

Several rapid response teams have already been formed to cull the ducks and poultry at the farm, 20 km north of here. The paramilitary Border Security Force has been alerted to prevent the entry of ducks and fowl from across the border, the official said.

Over 6,200 poultry and ducks have been culled in last week of January in western Tripura after a birdflu outbreak at the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) farm at Lembuchara and in adjoining villages.

Sarkar said that frequent outbreaks of bird flu has been affecting the poultry industry in the state bordering Bangladesh, where avian influenza is rampant in many districts.

The Tripura government has been asking the central government to bear the entire cost of the compensation and other expenditure relating to bird flu.

The government of India shares cost of compensation on a 50:50 basis with the state governments and has asked the state governments to utilise funds available with them under the programme of Assistance to States for Control of Animal Disease (ASCAD), a centrally sponsored scheme.

Tripura, which shares an 856-km border with bird flu hit Bangladesh, had been affected by avian influenza since in April and May 2008, forcing authorities to cull over 250,000 poultry birds and ducks then.

IANS