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Thousands of ducks and chickens killed in Indian bird flu scare

Birds in a 1km radius of state-run farm are being killed after some tested positive for the H5 virus.

GAUHATI // Health workers have killed about 4,000 ducks and chickens at a government-run farm in the remote Indian state of Tripura after some tested positive for bird flu, a government official said yesterday.

Sixteen public health teams also began slaughtering poultry within one kilometre of the state-run farm in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus, said Jyotirmoy Chakrabarty, joint director of the state's animal research department.

Mr Chakrabarty said some poultry on the farm were infected with the H5 strain of bird flu, and more tests were under way to determine whether it was the virulent H5N1 subtype.

There were no reports of any humans being infected, he said.

"There is no cause for panic. We are eliminating the birds since they have tested positive for the H5 virus," Mr Chakrabarty said.

The state government has banned the movement and sale of poultry and eggs from farms in the area, on the outskirts of Agartala, the state capital.

State authorities have also banned the import of poultry and eggs from Bangladesh, which is 10 kilometres from Agartala.

The last big outbreak of bird flu in India was in 2008, when millions of poultry were slaughtered. Minor outbreaks were reported in 2010.

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