Border states told to check bird flu

April 17th, 2008 - 2:56 pm ICT by admin  

Agartala, April 17 (IANS) The union government has asked all five Indian states bordering Bangladesh to maintain a strict vigil along the international border to check outbreak of bird flu, officials said here Thursday. “The Border Security Force (BSF) and other officials have been asked to keep a close watch on the unfenced border with Bangladesh to prevent illegal trade of poultry birds and other poultry products between the two countries,” said Aghore Debbarma, Tripura Minister for Animal Resource Development.

He said that the central government has banned trade of poultry birds and its products between the Indian states and also with Bangladesh, whose 19 of the 64 districts have been affected by the deadly H5N1 virus and thousands of poultry birds have died during the recent months.

“The Indian government recently expressed its displeasure to Bangladesh for not sharing vital information about the outbreak of avian influenza virus in that country and asked Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pinak Ranjan Chakraborty to send detailed report about the bird flu in the neighbouring country,” a senior official on condition of anonymity told IANS.

India shares a 4,095 km long border with Bangladesh, including 2,216 km with West Bengal followed by 856 km with Tripura, 443 km with Meghalaya, 318 km with Mizoram, and 262 km with Assam.

Some experts including the New Delhi-based National Institute of Virology (NIV) feel that Bangladesh poultry is the possible source of bird flu in India.

The northeastern state of Tripura recently culled over 41,000 poultry following the outbreak of bird flu in the border village of Kamalpur under Dhalai district, 150 km north of the capital city Agartala.

There were reports of fresh deaths of birds in various places of Tripura, whose 15 of the 17 sub-divisions fall along the border with Bangladesh.

“We got most reports with negative result after the blood samples of the dead birds in fresh areas were sent to the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory and Pune-based National Institute of Virology for testing,” the minister said.

“Intense house-to-house surveillance in the bird flu affected villages of Dhalai district has been continuing. The health teams have covered a population of over 15,000 and there is no suspected case of human avian influenza,” an official release here said.

It said: “Some people with fever have been detected and none of them had history of exposure to infected poultry. Over 200 animal health workers involved in culling operations are under medical supervision and chemoprophylaxis.”

The authorities have undertaken a massive awareness campaign across the state specially, along the bordering villages about the bid flu disease and immediate action by the people.

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