Bird Flu has not affected humans so far: Ramadoss

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (UNI) Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today said there was no confirmation of bird flu affecting human lives in West Bengal till date as the dreaded avian influenza spread its wings over eight districts in the Left-ruled rpt Left-ruled state.

Dr Ramadoss informed mediapersons here that teams of experts had been fanned out in seven districts of the state -- Birbhum, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, Burdwan, Nadia, Bankura and Malda -- to cull 20 lakh chicken in the next seven days.

North 24 Parganas is the eighth district in the State which today reported chicken deaths from three areas bordering flu-affected Nadia district and a team of experts would soon cover this district as well, the Health Minister added.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Government sources said they had raised their culling target to 20 lakh chicken after blood samples sent from Malda district tested positive of the bird flu virus yesterday.

Dr Ramadoss said the screening was conducted within 10 km of the affected areas and people living in the villages had been randomly tested by the Health Ministry teams.

''There is no reason to be concerned about any human cases of bird flu,'' Dr Ramadoss said, adding, ''we are vigilant.'' The National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), responsible for carrying out the screening, today said all the five human samples taken from West Bengal had tested negative for bird flu infection.

UNI/BKS MS KP1723

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