Dec. 7: Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital has geared up to accommodate any human victim suffering from avian influenza virus from Kamrup (metro) and Kamrup districts.
Ashok Barkotoky, the deputy superintendent of MMCH told The Telegraph that the hospital has procured all necessary equipment and medicines and set up isolation wards for both male and female patients. He said the isolation wards would be equipped with ventilation facility to treat very critical cases.
“We have circulated instructions on treatment and management of the infection to our staff in case they receive a patient showing symptoms of avian influenza. The symptoms of avian influenza, caused by H5N1 virus, are sore throat, cough, fever, pneumonia, respiratory distress, respiratory failure and other life-threatening complications. The hospital has procured masks and other disposable kits for the use of doctors and para-medical staff while treating any case of avian influenza,” Barkotoky said.
According to Barkotoky, the MMCH has received all necessary medicine including anti-biotic injections and intravenous fluid from the state health department as well as the Centre.
An official of the state health and welfare department said studies reveal that avian influenza spread from birds to humans and not person-to-person. He said even though there has been no human infection so far in Assam, hospitals like the MMCH has to be kept ready in view of the fact that the virus is spreading fast among the poultry population in Kamrup (metro), Kamrup and other Lower Assam districts.
The official said a team of doctors and nurses would be briefed on the bird flu isolation wards in MMCH from tomorrow. The MMCH authorities said if the situation warrants, the number of beds in the isolation wards can be increased.
On the other hand, the villagers in the bird flu-hit areas of Kamrup district who refused to co-operate with the culling teams will not be paid any compensation.
Kamrup deputy commissioner R.C. Jain said a section of villagers in Hajo area is unwilling to give up their birds for culling.
“During the culling operation at Hajo, it was observed that some of the people hid their poultry. As a result of that we had started combing operation in the area from yesterday,” he said.
An official of the state veterinary department involved in the culling, on condition of anonymity, said during the combing operation, house-to-house search is being conducted in the affected areas.
“During the combing operation, if we find owners hiding poultry then they will not be entitled to the compensation,” the source said.
The government is giving a compensation of Rs 80 for large birds, Rs 40 for medium-sized birds and Rs 20 for chicks.
In Kamrup district, so far 160,000 birds have been culled against the target of two lakh. Prior to yesterday’s combing operation, culling was done for six days.
“Our men are doing their best. It is everyone’s duty to cooperate to stop the deadly virus from spreading. Fortunately there has been no human infection so far,” the veterinary department source added.
Apart from the worst affected Kamrup, the outbreak of avian flu was also confirmed in some areas of Kamrup (metro), Nalbari and Barpeta districts.