Bird flu suspected to hit Assam, Meghalaya

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Guwahati, Jan 24 (UNI) The dreaded avian flu is suspected to have reached Assam's Goalpara district and neighbouring Khasi hills of Meghalaya from West Bengal.

Though official sources refused to confirm the suspected detection of H5N1 virus in poultry in Assam, it is suspected that a visiting Central team is convinced of the spread of the virus to the NE states also.

A Central Health and Veterinary experts' team has been visiting the bordering Assam-West Bengal districts on this side since Tuesday, with the team departing for Tura in Meghalaya today, from where they would proceed to Barak Valley through Shillong.

State Animal Husbandry and Veterinary department director A K Kotoky said the team has collected samples from all the bordering districts and also inspected the precautionary steps being taken by the state government.

Section 144 Cr PC has been clamped along 10 km radius of West Bengal-Assam and international border in the state. All poultry markets in the bordering towns have been closed down, Dr Kotoky added.

Moreover, reports also suggested that the virus had also reached the neighbouring East Khasi hills of Meghalaya, with the Central team visiting the area since yesterday.

Dr Kotoky said that all import of poultry products have been banned since more than a week and more than 7,000 poultry samples have been sent to Bhopal laboratories for detection.

UNI SG PP SP RN1619

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