Bird flu scare grips Cuttack: Ducks culled, compensation announced

After 12 ducks were tested positive of H5N1 virus, authorities culled 500 ducks, destroyed 6,000 eggs and instructed people not to consume the bird
A rapid action team works in Cuttack to cull ducks. Photo: Ashis Senapati
A rapid action team works in Cuttack to cull ducks. Photo: Ashis Senapati

Fears of a bird flu outbreak gripped Odisha’s Cuttack after 12 dead ducks were tested positive of H5N1 virus on March 31, 2019. Around 500 ducks and chickens have been culled since and 6,000 eggs destroyed.

The ducks were tested after 224 of them died in a livestock breeding and dairy farm in Khapuria area of the city.

“After 224 ducks died in the farm on March 29, we collected samples of 18 of them and sent it to the Animal Disease Research Laboratory (ADRL) in Cuttack to ascertain the cause of death. Later, ADRL officials sent the samples to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, who found the virus in 12 ducks,” said Loknath Behera, joint director, Animal Disease Research Laboratory, Cuttack. 

This is the first case of bird flu in Odisha this year. Such a scare has returned to the state after four months as the last one was reported in Sanasahi, Maluda, Alanda and Patharganj villages near Chilika lake in December.

“In Cuttack, so far, avian influenza remains confined to the duck population as no cases of any chicken or other birds being infected have been reported. We still culled more than 500 ducks and chickens within a kilometre of the farm and destroyed around 6,000 eggs. We also formed a rapid action team for this task. And, we are surveilling the 10-km area around Cuttack,” added Behera. 

The administration is spraying sodium in the surveillance zone and instructing people to not consume chicken and duck for three months. Also, a compensation of Rs 130 for a duck, Rs 90 for a locally-bread hen and Rs 70 for a poultry chicken will be paid to poultry farmers.

“Avian Influenza A (H5N1) is highly contagious and fatal. Most of the cases in which humans have been infected by the virus, which aren’t many, have resulted from people being in direct or close contact with H5N1-infected poultry or H5N1- contaminated surfaces,” added Dr Behera.

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