bdnews24.com Senior Correspondent
Dhaka, March 20 (bdnews24.com) – Biman culled 30,000 chickens in its poultry farms in Savar last week for fears of a killer disease, which was identified as "Newcastle" or
Two state-run and as many private laboratories have separately confirmed the viral disease, which is highly contagious for chickens but has no record of harming humans. The government also sent samples to Thailand for a laboratory test.
"We are convinced by the local laboratory test results. To make the results internationally convincing, we have sent the samples to a foreign laboratory," a highly placed government source told bdnews24.com.
The laboratories are Bangladesh Livestock Research Institute and Central Disease Investigation Laboratory under the livestock department and BRAC Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and Advance Laboratory.
Samples were taken from the affected chickens in the Biman Poultry Complex in Savar between February 22 and March 5.
Biman has decided to import poultry, vegetables and fruits for its catering services after output ground to a halt in the Biman farms sprawling over 225 bighas.
"We suspended output in our farms. The suspension will stay on until we get clearance from the Livestock Department," said a senior official with Biman Bangladesh Airlines.
The disease also affected 13 other private poultry farms in Kashimpur and Sreepur in Gazipur, not far from the Biman Poultry Complex.
But it was not immediately clear how many chickens have been affected.
"We have received reports from local laboratories which revealed that the chickens in the Biman poultry farm were infected by Newcastle disease," a senior Livestock Department official told bdnews24.com, asking not to be named.
Newcastle is a common disease among chickens, known to cause diarrhoea, gasping and coughing, drooping wings, dragging legs, twisting of heads and necks, depression, paralysis and swelling of the tissues around the eyes and in the neck.
"Parts of some poultry farms were affected by the disease. But it could not spread further as instant measures were taken," Moshiur Rahman, president of World's Poultry Science Association, Bangladesh Branch, told bdnews24.com.
A government official said private poultry farms that face the threat of the disease are Kazi, Tanni, Star Breeders, Maa, Samiya, Osman, Omega and Usha.
Kazi Farms general manager Osman Ali Khan however ruled out any attack of the disease in his farm. "There is no chance of the disease spreading to our farm," he said.