District authorities sounded a high alert in Orissa's Rourkela as reports of bird flu poured in.
“Following reports about H5N1 avian flu influenza, we are on high alert and are keeping a close watch on the development round the clock,” Sundargarh Collector B S Punia said.
“A team of experts will arrive from Bhubaneswar to takestock of the situation,” he said.
A task force meeting comprising officials from the administration, health department, Rourkela Municipal Corporation and Rourkela Steel Plant was held to take stock of the situation, officials said.
As a precautionary measure, the administration has shut down Indira Gandhi Park, a major tourist destination in the city, for an indefinite period.
The decision was taken in view of the report about the presence of H5N1 virus received from National Institute of High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (NIHSAD) in Bhopal, Punia.
Sub-Divisional Medical Officer Pushpa Mishra advised people to use masks and report about any death of birds and also anyone feeling uneasy.
In the last one week, dead crows were found in the local Central Industrial Security Force colony.
Subsequently, three pelicans, two white ibis and one duckwere found dead in quick succession after which samples were sent to the Bhopal laboratory.
Meanwhile, a team led by joint director of disease control, B K Parida and a scientist arrived at Rourkela from Bhubaneswar. Four rapid response teams have been formed to keep an eye on the development here. The teams have been formed with experts drawn from different departments.
The Odisha government had on December 28 formally launched culling of chicken suspected to be affected by H5N1 virus at Keranga village under Khurda district.
The villagers also came forward to support the culling operation after they were made aware on the impact of the bird flu which may also affect human beings, according to Fisheries and Animal Resources Secretary B P Sethi.