Thursday, August 30, 2012

India: #H5N1 Alert

A team of Animal Resource and Husbandry Department (ARD) on Wednesday visited Swarupnagar in North 24-Parganas to collect blood samples of dead chickens as reports of widespread deaths of poultry were reported from the area, triggering fear of an outbreak of bird flu.

In the last 22 days, around 50,000 chickens have reportedly died in the four blocks of Swarupnagar — Baduria, Kakrasuti, Lakshmikantapur and Nayabandh. 

“I am closely monitoring the situation and the blood samples have been sent to Belgachia government laboratory for test,” said Chief Medical Officer (Health) of North 24-Parganas Susanta Kumar Sil.

ARD Minister Noor -E- Alam Chowdhury urged people not to panic and said the government is prepared to tackle any outbreak of bird flu. “Yes, birds have died, but there can be a number of reasons behind it. We are prepared to tackle any such outbreak,” he said.

Senior officials said if the blood samples of the dead birds are found positive of Avian Influenza Virus (H5N1) then it would be sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune for confirmation. Positive result from Pune lab would lead to beginning of culling operation within three days. Rapid response teams will be formed to carry out surveillance of bird deaths, said an official.
Lime and bleaching powder are being sprayed in the area as a preventive measure. Leaflets containing dos and don’ts are being distributed. “We have started an awareness campaign in the area and asked villagers to dispose of the carcasses of the birds in a pit,” said an official. Villagers are being told to wear gloves while feeding their poultry or wild birds.

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