DHAKA, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh's authorities have culled nearly 50,000 chickens so far this year following fresh outbreak of bird flu last month, an official said Wednesday.
The government's bird flu control room official told Xinhua Wednesday, "Some 46,387 chickens were culled so far this year after detecting avian influenza in 16 commercial farms."
Fresh outbreak of bird flu was detected in Bangladesh in the first week of January with arrival of winter season when the official, who preferred to be unnamed, said some 17,723 chickens were culled in four commercial farms including one near to capital Dhaka.
Apart from this, he said 9,769 birds died of the avian influenza in the 16 flu hit firms until Tuesday since January this year. "A total of 65,481 eggs were also destroyed during the same time," he added.
Against this backdrop, Bangladesh's Fisheries and Live Stock Department has strengthened its surveillance to contain further spread of the infectious disease -- H5N1.
"We've taken special steps like motivating farmers to adopt preventive measures since the disease found to reemerge last month to contain its outbreak," Director of the government's Influenza Preparedness and Response Project, Nazrul Islam, said.
He said bird flu has so far spread to four districts of the South Asian country including its capital Dhaka this year since its resurrection last month.
"We've instructed our field level officials for proper culling, destruction, disposal and decontamination immediately after diagnosis," he added.
Islam further said they have also asked the authorities concerned for more vigilance at the border entry points as there are reports of bird flu outbreak in some neighboring countries.
A few months back bird flu outbreak was reported in Bangladesh' s neighboring India and very recently it has also been reported in Nepal.
Bangladesh's bird flu control room official, however, expected that there will not be massive outbreak of the disease this time as dangerous period meaning winter season, which is the high time for outbreak of the disease, nears to end in the country.
The bird flu was first detected in Bangladesh in a poultry farm near capital Dhaka in March 2007. The situation deteriorated later on as the virus spread fast across the country which was reported in 47 districts between December 2007 and March 2008.
About 50 percent of the country's 150,000 poultry farms were closed and more than 1.5 million chickens, ducks and pigeons were culled as of the end of March, 2008 in which the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association estimated a loss of about 75 billion taka (about 1.07 billion U.S. dollars).
Bangladesh's poultry farmers during winter season in 2009 also suffered to some extent from the out break of the disease.
The first bird flu in human body in Bangladesh was detected on May 21, 2008. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, diagnosed a 16-month-old Bangladesh child as being infected with H5N1 who later recovered.