Avian flu spreads to ducks, chicken; culling soon
The outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza that first affected turkeys at the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) farm in Hesaraghatta has spread to other birds, including chicken and ducks, within the CPDO farm in the last few days.
The alarming spread of the epidemic has prompted the authorities concerned to adopt more urgent methods to contain the disease from spreading to Bangalore, and eventually to humans.
An official note from the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences said 19,235 chicken, 13,673 ducks and 369 emus will have to be culled in the coming days as part of the effort to contain the disease.
The Centre notified the outbreak of the flu on October 25 and as per its Action Plan-2012 for control and containment of Avian Influenza, CPDO officials initiated sanitisation in the turkey unit of the farm, culling 800 turkeys, after the disease killed 3,600 of them.
However, the spread of the disease intensified by Sunday (October 28) and over 3,550 turkeys, over 200 chicken and about 15 ducks were culled by late Sunday.
Aravind Jannu, Principal Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences, told Deccan Herald: “It was found that the disease has spread to more birds now. And we have sent 50 serum samples and 41 cloacal samples to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal. We are awaiting its report.”
Jannu said the Centre’s directive requires culling of birds within one kilometre radius of the source of the outbreak (CPDO). “Thankfully there are no villages or private poultry farms in the area and the culling as of now is limited to birds on the CPDO campus,” he said.
Jannu said his department was confident of containing the disease from spreading and thereby pre-empt the need to cull birds outside this limit.
Further, he said he had asked the deputy commissioner (DC), Bangalore Urban, to extend the previous notification on ban of sale of poultry products within a 10-km radius of Hesaraghatta by another week as a precautionary measure.
About 10 teams are involved in the work in the 10-km of surveillance zone, while another 25 rapid response teams are involved in the culling and disposal of the birds in the CPDO Further, although there had been incidents of stray cases of this flu spreading to humans in other countries when it was first reported in 2003-04, officials term transmission of the flu to humans as “extremely rare.”“Once cooked, there is almost no way it could spread to humans. However, we have alerted the health department and have asked them to keep the necessary drugs ready and also to help contain the same from spreading to humans,” Jannu added.