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Experts say Karnataka free from bird flu

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Bangalore, Feb 22 (UNI) The dreaded bird flu has not entered Karnataka and there is no need for people to get panicky, Karnataka Veterinary and Animal Sciences and Fisheries Vice Chancellor Srinivasa Gowda said today.

Speaking to newspersons here, Dr Gowda, also a member of the state-level High Powered Committee on Bird Flu, said that evensince the outbreak of Avian flu in 2004 in various parts of the country, strict surveillance had been maintained across the state to prevent the spread of the virus. This year alone, samples of over 1000 dead birds had been sent for testing and all of them had tested negative for bird flu, he pointed out.

Referring to the sudden death of about 15,000 chickens reported from Shimoga district, he informed that the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals in the city and the National Laboratory Bhopal had confirmed that the birds had died due to Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD), a common virus attacking birds, and not dreaded H5N1 virus (bird flu).

Dr Gowda said there was remote possibility of Avian flu spreading to the state as the bio-security measures adopted by it were of high standards. Besides, the traditional cooking style and better management of hatcheries, poultry and breeding units in the state also helped in insulating it from bird flu attack.

Informing that the total turnover generated by the state's poultry industry was about Rs 1,900 crore, he said in the last three days alone, it had suffered a loss of Rs 250 crore due to the bird flu threat.

Speaking on the occasion, Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals Director G Krishnappa informed that over 20 lakh people were employed in the entire poultry industry in the state. About 160 lakh kg of broiler chicken was produced in the state every month and it yielded a turnover of Rs 600 crore.

Similarly, breeding and commercial egg production registered a turnover of about Rs 460 crore, he added.

He said the State had requested the Centre to supply 42 lakh vaccines as a precautionary measure. But it had declined to send it, stating that vaccines could be sent only if any bird flu case was confirmed in the state. In any case, the state had enough stocks of drugs to face any eventuality, he added.

UNI MV RG TS1820

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