Nearly 200,000 poultry have been culled in Manipur in the drive against bird flu and authorities have decided to begin a second round. Health officials Wednesday said over 300 people are under special medical supervision though no human has contracted the disease so far. The first phase of culling is likely to end Thursday and the second one is to stamp out birds from backyard farms.
"We had identified 86 sectors for the culling operation and expect to finish the task by Thursday. We would begin a second round of operation immediately to ensure there are no poultry left in the area," K. Gopal, nodal officer of the Animal Disease Control Programme in Manipur, told IANS.
The culling began last week in a five km radius around the farm at Chenngmeirong near Imphal where the deaths were originally reported. There are an estimated 800 poultry farms in the area.
About 34 Rapid Response Teams with five members in each group led by a veterinarian are involved in the culling as laboratory tests earlier confirmed the dead birds had H5NI strains, which are highly pathogenic in nature.
"We shall now begin a massive cleaning and disinfecting drive in the area before taking up the second round of culling operation," Gopal said. There have been no fresh reports of the viral disease spreading to other parts of the state.
Health officials said there were no reports of humans contracting the virus although a massive surveillance campaign was on to ensure safety of the locals. Over 200,000 people have gone through health checkups so far.
"As of now, 171 cullers are under the cover of Tamiflu (a precautionary medicine) and their health status is being monitored," an official statement said.
They covered 45,032 houses in places including the Imphal municipality area, Luwangsangbam, Koirengei, Lamlongei, Ahalup, Matai and Kontha. Officials said out of the houses surveyed, 935 had backyard poultry.
"A total of 235,161 people were covered in the health drive. And 163 cases of fever or acute upper respiratory tract infection were found and four people had handled either dead or sick birds. These cases are being monitored," the ministry said.
Officials said the isolation ward in J.N. Hospital, Imphal was ready to receive patients. Two ventilators have been installed to provide critical care. This is in addition to the critical care facilities available at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal.
"Adequate supply of logistics like Tamiflu, N-95 masks and personal protective gears have been made available to the state government," the officials added.