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Bhubaneswar, Dec 27:

The Odisha government on Tuesday initiated the process for culling of poultry in Khurdha district after four dead crows and three dead poultry tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 virus.

bird-flu

The government began culling of poultry in Keranga village and within a one-kilometre radius in the district. The bird flu virus was confirmed in this village, about 35 kilometres from Bhubaneswar.

However, culling of fowls in the village was halted due to stiff resistance by the villagers who are demanding demolition of poultry farm on the outskirts of village claiming that the virus started spreading after the farm was set up. They are also demanding compensation proportional to the cost of each chicken culled.

Ten rapid response teams have been mobilised for the culling operation in the area. Around 2,500 chickens will be culled during the operation, officials said.

“Keranga village is the epicentre of bird flu. We have directed to go for culling of poultry within the radius of one kilometre for its containment. It’s the first time in the current season that this type of bird flu was detected,” said Fisheries & Animal Resources Development Secretary Bishnupada Sethi.

A similar outbreak was reported in the region in 2012.

“The H5N1 is considered highly pathogenic. It can also transmit to animals and humans. The Health Department is monitoring the situation,” said Sethi.

A control room has been set up at the Directorate of Animal Husbandry to monitor the situation and to disseminate information.

Official sources said the government would provide compensation to the poultry farmers and owners for the culling.

(With IANS inputs)