Tripura on alert, West Bengal struggles to contain bird flu

January 23rd, 2008 - 2:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Anbumani Ramadoss
Agartala/ Murshidabad (WB), Jan 23 (ANI): Border officials in Tripura are taking steps to check the entry of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu virus from Bangladesh, even as authorities in West Bengal continue to struggle to contain the disease.
Through Tripura does not import poultry products from Bangladesh, everyday hundreds of vehicles enter the state from that country.
Health officials have been fumigating vehicles at the India-Bangladesh border, even as border guards seek a vigil to prevent the smuggling of the poultry into the country.
“Officially, we do not import poultry and its produce from Bangladesh. In addition to that there may be chances that poultry and its produce is smuggled into India from Bangladesh. We have sanitized our battalions to see that the smuggling of the poultry is denied,” said J. A. Khan, Inspector General, Border Security Force (BSF).
In West Bengal, seven districts — Birbhum, Murshidabad, south Dinajpur, Burdwan, Nadia, Bankura and Malda — have been affected, but officials said the infection could be more widespread as they waited for test results of more birds.
The virus was also spreading to new areas within already infected districts and the state was finding it difficult to contain the disease.
“About 20-25 doctors from Kolkata have come here and each doctor is supervising 2-3 culling teams. Senior officers have been deputed to carry out culling operations and the magistrates of respective districts are also involved,” said Subir Bhadra, District Magistrate of Murshidabad.
“Though till now no incidence of human infection of bird flu has come up, but as a precautionary measure, we have informed all our staff that if within 3-4 kilometers of the culling operations anyone is found with symptoms then the person should be immediately admitted and examined for the virus,” Bhadra added.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Health Minister Surjya Kanta Mishra has rubbished media report that five people in West Bengal had been quarantined with bird flu symptoms.
Putting to rest fears of humans being infected by bird flu, Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss has said that people have been randomly tested in West Bengal’s areas hit by avian influenza and all have tested negative.
About 160,000 poultry birds have been culled so far, while over 100,000 birds have succumbed to the disease. (ANI)

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