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No need to close schools in bird flu hit areas: Centre

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New Delhi, Feb 23 (UNI) The Centre today said that there was no need to close schools and colleges in the bird flu hit areas as no incidents of human to human transmission of avian flu has come to light, till date, anywhere in the world.

Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research N C Ganguly told reporters here, ''At the moment there were no indication of human to human transmission of bird flu virus. The sequencing of virus done till the end of 2005 has shown no signal of human influenza virus in the bird flu virus.'' Though some strong Vietnamese mutation in the H5N1 virus indicated these trend, they are confined to a particular locality.

New probes are being developed to detect these virus, he said.

Meanwhile, the remaining one sample has been sent to the National Institute of Virology in Pune for cross verification of confirmatory test for avian influenza. All the other 94 of the 95 samples have already been found to be clear with no H5N1 virus being found in them, Dr Ganguly said.

The sample, which was already tested in the National Institute of Communicable Disease here, would undergo most sensitive Real Time PCR testing at NIV, Pune and the results would come out on Saturday. Only then it can be doubly sure that none of the cases have avian influenza, he pointed out. This sample had shown some faint bands during previous tests held at NICD but they are insignificant, he pointed out.

''However, we can only say conclusively after the confirmatory test results come from NIV Pune, Dr Ganguly said.

He said that these patients had very mild symptoms and their condition has improved. None of them developed pneumonia till now, which generally happens in case of bird flu, so the possibility of them developing avian flu is very remote.

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