Fresh bird flu cases in West Bengal

March 9th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata, March 9 (IANS) Fresh cases of bird flu have been confirmed in a West Bengal district, almost a month after officials expressed hope that the avian flu had been finally controlled with the culling of around four million birds. “We received confirmation Saturday of bird flu (the deadly H5N1 strain) in two villages of Murshidabad district. The two villages are Nayamukundapur in Raghunathgunj Block II and Dohapara village in Murshidabad-Jiagunj block,” Murshidabad district magistrate Subir Bhadra told IANS.

The two areas - where about 900 poultry birds died in the past week - are about 300 km from Kolkata.

Bhadra said the samples that were recently sent to the National Animal Research Laboratory in Bhopal from the two villages had tested positive.

He said about 60 rapid response teams would start culling chickens and ducks in the affected areas soon.

In Kolkata, West Bengal Animal Resource Development (ARD) Minister Anisur Rahman said the culling would start Sunday.

“The areas from where the reports came are not new areas,” he said.

Rahman said about four million birds were culled till mid February since the flu outbreak was confirmed on Jan 15.

In early February, authorities hoped that the worst bird flu crisis ever was over. The ban on sale and consumption of poultry products was also lifted from 13 of the 19 West Bengal districts where the flu raged.

The West Bengal government had then allayed fears of human infection, after the blood samples of the 19 people sent for testing were negative.

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