We have previously addressed in this blog, the “Cull” of the poultry being carried out within the quarantine zone set up by the Manipur State Government around the farm in Chingmeirong in Imphal East, where the recent outbreak was discovered.
As reported, there have been many arrests made of the poultry farmers within the zone who were suspected of trying to flee the quarantine zone with their live stock.
To add to this real human drama, we now have a strange death of one of the “Cullers” responsible for the destruction of the poultry within the quarantine zone.
A member of the rapid response team of Manipur’s veterinary department, which has been engaged in culling poultry since bird flu was detected in the state last week, died today after reportedly consuming formalin, a solution being used to spray the burial sites of culled birds.
Salam Babuyaima, a 53-year-old grade IV employee of the department, collapsed around 8.30am, when the team was preparing to depart for the day’s culling operations in Imphal East and West districts. He died at Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital an hour later.
Veterinary and health officials, who carried out routine health check-ups of the team this morning, ruled out any connection between his death and avian influenza.
The health officials said Babuyaima was found fit during the check-up.
Culling of poultry started on Thursday, following confirmation the previous day that more than 100 birds had died of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu at a farm in Chingmeirong in Imphal East.
Officials said that before leaving for work today, Babuyaima was asked to keep an eye on the materials collected by his team for the operations.
“He was holding an 800ml bottle of formalin and spray equipment. The team went down with the items from the quarantine while the grade IV employee lagged behind. On being asked, he said he had consumed formalin,” an official statement said.
Babuyaima collapsed on his bed in the quarantine ward and was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he died.
The formalin he consumed was highly concentrated, an official said.
Veterinary and health officials informed chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh who has decided that the post-mortem report would be made public to dispel any fear regarding the cause of the death.
Veterinary director Th. Dorendro Singh also said the post-mortem report would be made public.
Officials are tight-lipped about why the employee consumed formalin. Investigations are on. Culling operations continued today in spite of the incident, however, progress was slow.
While 16,000 poultry were killed by 3.30pm yesterday, only 9,800 were killed by the same time today.
Here is alink to the news Item from the The Telegraph:
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