The process to cull nearly 4,000 birds, including chickens and ducks, began in Jharkhand's Bokaro district late on Saturday evening after a bird flu outbreak was reported at a state-run poultry farm, an official said.
H5N1, a type of avian influenza virus, was confirmed among a protein-rich breed of chicken, 'Kadaknath', at the farm in the Lohanchal where 800 birds died and 103 had to be culled, he said. "The process to cull a total of 3,856 birds, including chickens and ducks, began late this evening in the affected area -- 1 km radius of the farm," Institute of Animal Health & Production, Ranchi, director Dr Bipin Bihari Mahtha told PTI.
He said the culling will continue on Sunday as the process is time-consuming. After birds started to die at the farm on February 2, samples were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal for testing and the flu was confirmed, he said.
A process has been started to determine the compensation for the people whose chickens and ducks are being culled, he added. The district administration has already declared areas within 1 km radius of the farm as the affected zone, while areas within 10 km radius have been declared surveillance zone. It also banned the sale of chicken and ducks in the district.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Arun Kumar Singh earlier said the state was on an alert. A medical team was formed to monitor the border areas of the district, and for the sampling of chickens and ducks at large farms. Besides, it has also been asked to collect samples of people living in the affected zone.
A separate ward has been set up at the Sadar Hospital for people infected with bird flu. Symptoms of the infection among humans include severe upper back pain, fever, cough, shortness of breath, cold and blood in the sputum, officials said.
The Animal Husbandry Department issued an advisory, urging people to inform it if they see dead birds.