SHILLONG, Jan 15 (IANS): Fresh deaths of domesticated fowls have been reported in Meghalaya, even as the culling of birds in a three-kilometre radius of the bird-flu
epicentre of Williamnagar in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills entered its third day Sunday, an official said.
More than 2,321 birds, including domesticated fowls, were culled and buried with lime and bleaching powder in 10 villages within the three-kilometre radius of the
government-run farm at Williamnagar - the epicentre of H5N1 virus, the official said.
"The culling exercise would continue in 10 more villages within the three-kilometre radius of the farm. We are hopeful to complete this exercise in a span of another
three days or so," Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Director D. Lyngwa told IANS.
Besides, the 13-member rapid response team have destroyed total 892 eggs and 850 kilograms of feeds during the two days, he said.
The government had recently sent samples to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal after more than 3,000 birds died in the past few weeks at the
farm in Williamnagar.
Meanwhile, there have been fresh reports of death of domesticated fowls outside the culling area in and around the district headquarters.
"It is difficult to quantify the exact number of deaths because the villages have not officially informed us but nonetheless surveillance teams have been deployed in
those areas to monitor the health of the birds," East Garo Hills District Magistrate Pravin Bakshi told IANS.
Expressing concerns on dumping of dead fowls into the Simsang river by villagers, Bakshi said a special team have launched an awareness campaign, urging villagers to
bury their dead birds in a deep pit with lime to prevent the H5N1 virus from spreading to humans.
Though there has been no report of the infection spreading to humans, the district official said health workers are conducting house-to-house surveillance to confirm
if any person is infected with H1N1 virus.
The state health and family welfare department rushed a micro-biologist and a pathologist to Williamnagar.
"A team of specialists is stationed at Williamnagar to monitor human health in view of the birds testing positive for H5N1. The government will provide all necessary
medicines," said state medical chief A.C. Hazarika.
The government has asked all districts to monitor the health of all poultry. The movement and sale of poultry and poultry products from the affected area has been