Centre taking steps to contain bird flu in 9 districts of WB

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New Delhi, Jan 24 (UNI) In view of the spread of Avian influenza to nine districts of West Bengal, the Centre has alerted all the states to take preventive measures and deputed health teams to Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and other North Eastern states to review the level of preparedness to check the spread of the disease to new areas.

It has also instructed Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam, which share a common border with West Bengal, to ban and prevent any entry of poultry or related products from West Bengal into these states.

The central teams sent by the Ministry of Health would fill critical gaps in the state governments steps to check bird flu spread. The preparedness of the districts bordering West Bengal is also being reviewed through videoconference with state/district authorities.

All the five suspected cases of human infection, have been found to be negative of the deadly H5N1 virus following test at the high security animal disease laboratory.

However, the infection among poultry has spread to over nine districts of West Bengal with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandary notifying Avian Influenza in poultry in a number of blocks spread over districts of Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Bankura, Malda, Cooch behar, Burdwan and Hoogly.

The Health Ministry has initiated a series of actions to assist the state in the containment operations and restrict further spread of the disease. Senior Officials from this Ministry were deputed to review the situation with state health authorities. The contingency plan of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been implemented in affected districts. Seven Central Rapid Response Teams are assisting the state in containment operations.

In all the affected areas, active human surveillance is being undertaken in the 0-3 Km zone and being further stepped up in 3-10 Km area. Persons having Upper Respiratory Infection [URI]/ Fever are being monitored. Health care facilities have been identified with isolation ward and critical care facilities for management of human cases of Avian Influenza. The animal health staff involved in the culling and sanitisation operations and those involved in human health surveillance are being provided chemoprophylaxis and their health status is being monitored.

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