Recurrence of bird flu in West Bengal worrying: Ramadoss

December 22nd, 2008 - 5:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Anbumani RamadossNew Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss Monday said the government is concerned about the recurrence of bird flu in West Bengal and asked all state governments to draw up plans to fight the disease.At a special review meeting attended by officials of the health, home, environment, information and broadcasting and agriculture ministries, Ramadoss said he would write to “all the chief ministers and health ministers to upgrade the preparedness to deal with the disease”.

Expressing concern over the recurrence of bird flu in West Bengal, the minister appealed to the state government “to scale up its preparations and efforts to deal with the situation”. He advised the state to carry out a “regular drill to deal with the disease, irrespective of the outbreak conditions”.

Last week, West Bengal confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza and has so far culled 22,000 poultry in Malda district. In early 2008, the disease had hit 13 districts of the state following which over 200,000 birds were culled.

Health authorities maintain that people in the avian flu-hit areas of the state are not cooperating with the culling teams, as poultry is a source of livelihood in several villages.

Representatives from different ministries of Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Bihar, and Jharkhand attended the meeting.

Ramadoss emphasised the need to increase the awareness campaign about avian flu in order to educate people to adopt safe practices and cooperate in the culling.

He assured all the states of full support and asked them to utilize the situation to create a standing infrastructure to deal with avian influenza in future too.

Apart from West Bengal, at least eight Assam districts were hit by the bird flu virus two weeks ago after hundreds of chicken and ducks died suddenly. More than 400,000 poultry have been culled in Assam so far.

The northeastern state of Tripura was affected in April and May this year, forcing the authorities to cull over 200,000 birds.

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