Swine flu alert in northeast India

April 30th, 2009 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala/Guwahati, April 30 (IANS) The government has sounded an alert in the country’s northeastern states over swine flu and asked officials to make people aware about the contiguous disease, officials said Thursday.
The state governments of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Manipur have decided to create awareness about swine flu because a substantial number of people here rear pigs and consume pork, the possible source of the deadly disease.

A state official said: “Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held a review meeting Wednesday with the senior officials of animal husbandry and veterinary, health, revenue and disaster management departments.”

“The chief minister asked the officials to circulate leaflets and give advertisements in newspapers, radio and television to create awareness about the swine flu, its source and affect.”

Similar preparatory meetings were also held in Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya.

A senior official in Agartala told IANS: “Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya and other bordering states have prohibited import of pigs and pork products from Bangladesh and Myanmar.”

“We have asked the district and sub-divisional level officials to undertake awareness campaign across the state, especially along the bordering areas,” Satya Ranjan Debbarma, director of the Tripura health department, told reporters.

“We have enough antiviral drugs in our stocks to treat swine flu, although there are remote chances of outbreak of this disease in the state,” he said.

The preparedness in the northeastern region began after the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an alert on the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and other countries.

“Concerned field officials, specially the officials of animal husbandry and veterinary departments, have been directed to make a close vigil about the disease of animals specially the pigs,” the official added.

The authorities have also asked the workers of piggery farms to use masks and follow the ‘dos and don’ts’ issued by the governments.

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