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Avian flu threat to Mayurbhanj

- State veterinary department collects poultry birds’ blood samples and starts vaccination drive

Balasore, Jan. 1: Officials of the veterinary department have launched a drive in the blocks of Mayurbhanj district bordering Jharkhand to prevent the outbreak of avian influenza.

Apart from collecting blood samples of the poultry birds, the department has started a mass vaccination drive within a 20-km radius bordering Jharkhand.

Blood samples of the suspected cases are being sent to Animal Disease Research Institute near Bhubaneswar. However, no confirmed H5N1 case has been detected so far in the district, said the officials. The highly pathogenic H5N1 virus is commonly known as bird flu.

The preventive measures have been initiated following an advisory from the state government.

“There is no need to panic. Not a single bird has been detected with the flu. However, we are adopting measures to prevent any outbreak,” Mayurbhanj collector Aswasthy S told The Telegraph.

“We have a vast area bordering both Jharkhand and Bengal. Hence, we have intensified our vigil in these areas,” she said.

The veterinary department has begun the operations in Bahalada, Tiring, Rairangpur, Kusumi, Uruan, Joshipur and Shukrli blocks in the district, following the state government advisory.

“The state government has issued the advisory in the wake of mass death of crows in Jharkhand within the last couple of months. The medical report suggested that avian flu had led to their deaths,” said nodal veterinary officer Sasanka Panigrahi.

“Although the flu has not been detected in the poultry population in Jharkhand, yet as a precautionary step the preventive measures have been adopted. We are concentrating on surveillance, vigilance and vaccination,” he said.

However, neither the border with Jharkhand has been sealed nor any kind of restriction on import of poultry products from the Jharkhand end was imposed, said Panigrahi.

“We have constituted four teams to monitor the preventive drive. The local veterinary surgeons are tracking the health status, vaccination and collecting blood serums,” said Mayurbhanj chief district veterinary officer Nityananda Das.