At least 38,000 poultry birds have been culled in and around Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Orissa, following detection of the H5N1 virus at the Government of India's Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO).
The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and Khurda district administration culled the birds at the farm, which boasts of huge parent stock of poultry and is a major supplier to eastern Indian states. The CPDO has a total stock of 29,000 poultry birds.
Research birds not spared
Furthermore birds reared for research purposes at the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) campus have been culled. Researchers at OUAT said a breed of “coloured” hens developed after 16 years of toil have completely disappeared. The breed, referred to as ‘Kalinga brown’ was a mixture of broiler and country hens.
“It had taken almost 16 long years to develop the new variety of poultry bird. It may take another 16 years to re-develop it,” said a OUAT researcher, adding that the sale of the new variety had already begun on an experimental basis.
Sources at the OUAT said the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other agencies engaged in the culling exercise had been requested to spare the poultry at the university farm as none of them had been affected by the dreaded avian influenza. However, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development officials insisted that they were helpless as the OUAT farm was located within the three kilometer radius of the bird flu epicentre-the poultry farm of the CPDO.
The culling operation was undertaken in 29 wards within the 3km radius of the CDPO farm after detection of the H5N1 virus and following the advisory from the agriculture ministry to prevent the spread of the avian influenza.
Uttar Pradesh on alert
In the wake of bird flu cases being reported from Jharkhand and Orissa, the Uttar Pradesh government has issued an alert to all districts to take precautionary measures.
Kanpur Chief Medical Officer Dr Jay Singh said that he, along with other CMOs in the state, have been asked to keep track of any suspected bird flu cases. There have been no reports of bird flu in the district so far, he said.