Meghalaya yet to collect blood samples of chicken

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Shillong, Jan 23 (UNI) Keeping in view the outbreak of Avian flu in West Bengal, Meghalaya government has asked the concerned department to collect the blood samples of chickens and send to Kolkata and Bhopal to ascertain strains of H5N1 virus.

''No we have not sent the samples yet. In the next couple of days blood samples from different parts of the state will be collected and then sent to the laboratories,'' state Animal Husbandry department Director D Khonglah told UNI today.

So far, the administration collected around 60 blood samples from different parts of the state, including border areas with Bangladesh.

The international Indo-Bangla border was sealed after reports of bird flu outbreak in that country.

Allaying fears, Dr Khonglah said, no instances of bird flu have been reported in any part of the state till date.

''We have to wait for the tests results once we send the blood samples,'' the Director added.

Dr Khonglah also contradicted Chief Secretary Ranjan Chaterjee's statement that chicken import had been banned.

''The poultry products from West Bengal has only been banned owing to official confirmation of the outbreak of the disease in that state,'' Dr Khonglah added.

Meanwhile, top officials from the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and Union Animal Husbandry and Health departments would visit Meghalaya tomorrow to assess the impact of Avian influenza in the state.

The officials would also visit areas of the state bordering Assam and Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the animal husbandry and veterinary department started conducting surveillance, early detection and vaccination programmes along with inspection of poultry in the local markets here.

UNI RRK PP KLC/DB1526

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