November 27, 2008
A veterinary department official said up to 300 chicken and ducks died an unnatural death in some villages around Hajo, about 35 km west of Assam's main city of Guwahati in India.
"We have sent samples for laboratory tests to Pune and Bangalore for confirmation. We don't know for sure if the poultry deaths were due to bird flu," a veterinary department official said.
Authorities on Wednesday (Nov 26) implemented a ban on sale of poultry and have sounded a general alert in about 40 villages in a radius of five kilometers from the area where the deaths were reported.
Kamrup district magistrate R.C. Jain said by Thursday (Nov 27) that laboratory test reports will be out and the culling process may start as there have been large-scale reports of deaths coming in from nearby areas.
They have imposed a ban on sale and purchase of poultry and have asked people in the area not to consume chicken or duck as a precautionary measure, he added.
A general health alert was also imposed in the area. Teams of experts are now camping in the area and were contemplating culling birds as a precautionary measure.
Residents of the area said a large number of birds were falling sick.
"We saw normal birds dying almost instantly without any symptoms. Now we find some of the poultry in the area a little sick," said Biswa Das, a villager.