Experts sent to Assam as humans show signs of bird flu

December 14th, 2008 - 1:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Guwahati, Dec 14 (ANI): The Indian Government has rushed several bird flu experts to Assam to step up surveillance after nearly 100 people showed signs of suffering from the virus. Health workers have yet to confirm any human cases of H5N1, but they said patients in six districts were suffering from fever and respiratory infections, which are symptoms of the virus in humans.
“From the Government of India’’s side, we have provided the technical support. We have deployed our representatives in all these locations. We are providing financial support,” said N Gokulram, Secretary of the Central Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department.
Three teams of Central medical experts, including epidemiologists and microbiologists, are keeping a close watch on humans in the affected areas of the state.
Medical teams have brought equipment as a preventive measure in case the virus spreads to humans, including 10,000 Tamiflu capsules, 6,000csurgical masks and two ventilators.
Veterinary officials have slaughtered over 300,000 chickens and ducks since late November, after the virus was detected in poultry last month in a village close to Guwahati.
Over 400 Rapid Response Teams have been formed for the culling operations in areas affected by the disease.
With the disease spreading to fresh areas in upper and lower Assam, the State Government has announced a new scheme to be introduced on December 21 with the aim of rehabilitating poultry farmers who have suffered huge losses due to the outbreak of the disease.
“We have initiated a new scheme providing 30 million rupees. All these beneficiaries will be provided goatry as well as piggery units. The scheme will start from 21st of this month,” said S Mewra, Commissioner of Assam’’s veterinary department.
Meanwhile, Police have arrested six people in Guwahati on charges of smuggling over 500 chickens out of the city, and therefore, violating a ban on the sale and transportation of poultry products in the state.
Samples of the dead chickens have been sent for testing from two more districts of Assam.
The WHO has described the outbreak of bird flu in West Bengal last January, when more than four million birds were culled, as the worst ever in India. (ANI)

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