Tripura Alert After Chicken Deaths, Samples Sent for Tests

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 2 2007 7:29 PM

At least 300 chickens have died at a government-run poultry in Tripura prompting authorities to send samples for laboratory tests to confirm if there was incidence of bird flu in the state, officials said Thursday.

The deaths were reported in the last two days at a poultry farm of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra, a training-cum-demonstration centre for farmers, at village Chebri in Khowai sub-division, 85 km west of state capital Agartala.

"We have collected samples of the dead birds and sent them to different laboratories outside Tripura to confirm if the chickens died of bird flu or any other disease," said Samarendra Das, assistant director of Tripura's animal resource development department.

"The symptoms of the deaths do not indicate that these birds were affected by avian influenza. However, we have to confirm beyond doubt."

Authorities were monitoring the situation closely. "The state government has asked the Border Security Force (BSF) and Mobile Task Force (MTF) to seal the 856-km long India-Bangladesh border along Tripura to check smuggling of any poultry products from Bangladesh," said Pranab Debbarma, Tripura's animal resource development minister.

The minister said: "The state is free from bird flu."

Manipur, another state in India's northeast, had last week sounded an alert after bird flu was confirmed there. However, there were no fresh cases of bird deaths in Manipur.

Debbarma said: "The state's nearly 11,000 poultry farmers had brought chicks from Kolkata and not from the north-eastern states."

The Tripura government has published advertisements in newspapers and local TV channels that the state is free from bird flu.