Friday, August 31, 2012

India: Govt denies bird flu report, samples sent to Bhopal lab

 [editing is mine]
Sep 01 2012

With bird flu panic gripping Swarupnagar in North 24-Parganas for the past few days, the state husbandry department has decided to send the blood samples of the chickens to a Bhopal research laboratory. The Belgachia lab here did not find any H5N1 positive case.

Animal Resources Development (ARD) Minister Noor-e-Alam Chowdhury, said bird flu was not behind the fowl deaths and said samples will be sent to Bhopal. “Following their confirmation, we can say whether there has been an occurrence of bird flu in that area,” he said.

The unusual death of a large number of poultry triggered the panic. Officials of ARD Department on Friday said there has been no report of fresh case of bird death from the area. They suspect that chickens may have been given stale food that resulted in their largescale deaths.
A senior official of the ARD department said the preliminary blood test reports confirmed that the birds died not due to bird flu but because of some “unnatural disease”.

A team of officials from ARD today inspected the poultry in Swarupnagar, where its sale has been stopped. Around 40 commercial poultry farms have been sealed in four panchayat areas of North 24-Parganas — Baduria, Kakrasuti, Lakshmikantapur and Nayabandh — where about 50,000 chickens died, a few days ago. 

Quarantine measures like spraying lime has been started within one square kilometre area where the bird deaths took place, according to the guidelines of the Animal Husbandry department of the Union government.

It may be noted that in 2011, bird flu spread in parts of Tehatta in Nadia and the government gave around Rs 17 lakh as compensation to around 4,000 poultry farmers. Officials of the ARD department said this year, a total of around Rs 25 lakh has been allotted to control the disease of animals and preventive measures, therefore, should be taken earlier to prevent any outbreak.

Govt hiding facts: CPM
Leader of the Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra on Friday criticised the government and said the state government is trying to hide facts regarding bird flu. He said “he was confirmed that bird flu panic has gripped North 24-Parganas and that the government is trying to hide facts”. “There is no need to take all ministers along with secretaries on district tours. The secretaries have their work in the field too”, he said. The need of the government is to send the blood samples of the dead birds to laboratories in Bhopal and Pune for testing, he added.

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