New avian flu virus concerns poultry farmers

Dhaka,  Sat,  23 September 2017
Published : 25 Nov 2016, 21:19:04

New avian flu virus concerns poultry farmers

Arafat Ara

A new type of avian influenza virus called H9N2 has been found in different areas of the country in recent times, raising fears among the poultry farmers, industry insiders have claimed.

It will put an adverse impact on the country's poultry sector if the authority concerned does not take preventive measures immediately, they said.  

H9N1, unlike H5N2, does not spread fast, but it affects the poultry birds slowly and ultimately poses serious threat to their lives, according to them.  

The farmers said the number of layer and broiler chickens is gradually decreasing in some areas following an outbreak of such virus. The production rates of day-old chicks are also shrinking due to the spread of H9N2 virus.

Khandker Mohammad Mohsin, general secretary of Bangladesh Poultry Khamar Rakkha Jatiya Parishad (BPKRJP), said they are facing crisis of day-old chicks in the market.

Farmers get only 70-75 chicks from 100 eggs. Earlier, they got on an average 90, he said, adding that for this reason, the prices of chicks have increased significantly in recent times.

"We bought layer and broiler day-old chick at Tk 32 and Tk 30 respectively one year back. Now the prices of poultry baby birds are Tk 180 and Tk 70," he said.

If such situation continues, poultry production will drop sharply in near future and local supply will be hampered, he added.

Bird flu or H5N1 virus first broke out in the country in 2007 when more than a million chickens were culled and thousands of small farms were closed as flu ravaged the industry for more than six months.

After launching vaccination programme in 2012, the effect of the disease gradually came down in the country.

But the sector insiders fear that if the government does not take necessary measures soon to check the spread of new virus, they may face the same setback like earlier.

M.M. Khan, secretary general of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association (BPIA), said they informed the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) about the new virus. But the authority is yet to take any measures in this regard, he added.

"Actually, DLS doesn't want to admit the existence of H9N2 virus as they have to compensate the farmers," he claims.

The government should take immediate steps before the virus spreads in other areas as it can be harmful gradually to the poultry sector, he said.

Mr Khan also said poultry farms in several areas are experiencing a low production of baby birds. Layer and broiler chickens also die of the virus, he added.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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