Culling operations began on Monday as samples collected from two blocks in Murshidabad, West Bengal, India tested positive for bird flu virus H5N1.
''Fifty thousand chicken will be killed in the three-day culling exercise,'' according to Murshidabad District Magistrate Subir Bhadra who said that 60 teams began culling operations at Raghunathganj and Muridabad-Jiyaganj blocks from where fresh chicken deaths were reported.
State Animal Resources Department Minister Anisur Rehman said that the sale and consumption of poultry has been banned in the notified area of the district till further orders.
"We do not know how many chickens and ducks escaped culling during the earlier exercise, but we are now trying our best to find them," said Anisur Rehman.
In January, the H5N1 virus caused panic in 13 of the state's 19 districts, including Murshidabad. Poultry sales went down by more than 70 percent in the state, but it did not have a big impact on the rest of India.
More than 3.4 million birds were culled in West Bengal after the World Health Organization (WHO) described January's outbreak of the bird flu virus as the worst-ever in India.
There have been no reported human cases of the bird flu. According to experts there is a possibility that the H5N1 strain could one day mutate into a form that could be easily transmitted from person to person, leading to a pandemic that could kill millions worldwide.