Top officials to assess impact of bird flu in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Jan 22 (UNI) Top officials from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and Union Animal Husbandry and Health departments would visit Meghalaya on January 24 to assess the impact of Avian Influenza in the state.

Director of the state Animal Husbandry department Dr D Khonglah told UNI here today that the team of officials would visit areas of the state bordering Assam and Bangladesh to take stock of the situation in view of the outbreak of the H5N1 virus in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

The administration had so far collected around 55 blood samples from Ranikor, Borsora, Baghmara and other villages located near the Indo-Bangla border.

''The blood samples will be sent to the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, to verify the presence of the bird flu virus,'' he said.

He said the department conducted surveillance, early detection and vaccination programmes. The veterinary department had been directed to conduct an inspection of the poultry in the markets here.

Meanwhile, the sale of poultry products in the state took a nosedive following reports of bird flu, especially after the state government imposed a ban on import of chicken and poultry products.

''We have stopped import of chicken and poultry products owing to the outbreak of H5N1 in West Bengal. The ban will continue until the situation improves,'' Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee said.

The state government started an awareness drive on the disease by distributing pamphlets.

The Border Security Force sealed the state's borders with Bangladesh and banned the import of poultry products following outbreak of bird flu in the country.

The BSF also instructed all its troops along the Indo-Bangla border to be extra alert to check the import of poultry items from outside the state.

UNI RRK DPM AKJ RS1258

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