Government alerts states bordering West Bengal on bird flu

March 12th, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) The central government Wednesday alerted states neighbouring West Bengal, where a fresh outbreak of bird flu has left over 190 birds dead over the past nine days. Tests at the Bhopal’s High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) found the presence of bird flu virus in samples from Nayamukundapur in Raghunathgunj block II and Dohapara village in Murshidabad-Jiagunj block of the Murshidabad district, following which the central government alerted adjoining states of Bihar, Orissa, Manipur and Jharkhand.

The Department of Animal Husbandry, after notifying the fresh poultry deaths, said about 90 broiler chicken died in Budhra Village of Jiaganj block March 5, while 100 birds in backyard poultry in Nayamukundpur village in Raghunathganj-II block were killed due to the H5N1 virus.

Both centres are just a few kilometres from the place where avian influenza was reported last month.

After the fresh outbreak, West Bengal has already resumed culling operations in Murshidabad district where the deadly H5N1 virus resurfaced nearly a month after the government claimed avian flu had been contained in the state.

According to state government officials, about four million birds were culled by mid-February since the bird flu outbreak was confirmed Jan 15.

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

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

Officials here said the Joint Monitoring Group, formed to keep the tab on the situation and headed by Director General of Health Services R.K. Srivastva, has conducted their review.

The department has also started human surveillance, which started Tuesday, in Jiaganj as a few cases of fever have surfaced. In Raghunathganj-II human surveillance began Wednesday.

In the hospital already 24 people have been admitted, and five more cases were detected. But animal husbandry department officials said none of them have exposure history to infected poultry.

About 19 villages in a radius of 0-3 km having a population of 19,849 were being monitored, the officers said.

Around 104 animal husbandry workers are involved in culling activities and have been medically examined. They are taking chemoprophylaxis to combat the virus. Also, 623 health personnel are involved in surveillance activities.

Two central Rapid Response Teams have been deputed to the affected areas to supervise the containment operations.

This is the fifth bird flu outbreak in India since 2006.

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