A threat of bird flu has forced the civic authorities to cull as many as 900 chickens after the detection of avian influenza virus in a dead fowl in Bangalore.
"A chicken was found dead on December 29 at a chicken shop in (suburban) Dasarahalli area and it was confirmed after lab tests that the bird was infected with the H5N1 avian influenza virus," Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Joint Commissioner S. Nagaraju told IANS.
Samples from the dead bird were sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal and had tested positive, he said.
"On orders from the Animal Husbandry Department, we have culled a total of 900 birds so far within the region where the infected bird was found," he said.
H5N1 virus-infected birds spread the virus through their saliva, mucus and faeces. Although the virus does not usually infect people, it can cause fever, diarrhoea, respiratory illnesses in some affected people.
The Animal Husbandry Department had on Tuesday declared an area of 1km radius from where the bird was found dead as the "infected zone" and an area of 10km radius as the "surveillance" zone. It also ordered meat shops in the infected region to be shut down.
"Meat-selling outlets within 1 km radius from the site where the infected bird was found have all been sealed and we are also inspecting the area in a 10 km radius for any possible virus-infected birds," Principal Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Rajkumar Khatri told IANS.
Authorities have also put a check on the sale of eggs in Dasarahalli to prevent the spread of the virus.
"We are following all the government procedures while culling (requiring the fowls to be culled in the same region where the infection was detected) to make sure there is no spreading of the virus," Khatri said.
The civic officials have also issued an advisory to Bengaluru citizens to avoid consuming uncooked chicken and eggs as a precautionary measure.
"We will be following up and holding inspections until we're 100 per cent sure that we have eliminated the virus completely," said Khatri.