Surveillance stepped up as bird flu grips Assam, Bengal

December 18th, 2008 - 3:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) With avian flu breaking out in West Bengal and Assam, the central government has stepped up surveillance to contain the spread of the deadly H5N1 virus in surrounding areas.The deadly virus has spread across six Assam districts, where the authorities say it has assumed epidemic proportions. It has reappeared for the second time this year in West Bengal’s Malda district.

A total of 368,935 birds have been culled in the two states, according to the department of animal husbandry and dairying under the ministry of agriculture.

About 1,150 health workers are conducting surveillance in the two bird-flu affected states, a statement issued here by the health ministry Thursday said.

Although 143 cases of upper respiratory tract infection with fever have been detected, none of these people had a history of handling dead or sick birds, it said.

Also, 122 cases of fever were reported from the various health facilities.

“Active house-to-house surveillance is being followed in a 0-3 km zone in all epicentres and in 3-10 km in phases,” the statement said.

A total population of 178,485 has been covered in the 0-3 km area while 145,317 people were covered in the 3-10 km area.

The department notified bird flu outbreak in English Bazar block in Malda district of West Bengal Monday and has taken containment measures, the statement said.

In Assam, bird flu was declared by the department in Block Gobardhana in Barpeta district and Block West Nalbari in Nalbari district Dec 4.

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