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More area brought under surveillance to contain Bird Flu

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Mar 16 (UNI) With confirmation of outbreak of avian influenza in another area in Maharashtra, surveillance activities has been extended to 38 districts falling in three states including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh even as no human was found infected by deadly bird flu in the country so far, Animal Husbandry Secretary P M A Hakeem said here today.

For the first time in the country, poultry birds were found infected with H5NI virus in Navapur and Uchchal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat on February 18 forcing authorities to contain the flu in that area. In the process, 4.5 lakh chicken were culled in 57 farms in that area.

With four samples testing 'positive' from four villages in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra on March 13, the authorities again swung into action, beginning the culling operation to eliminate as many as 75,000 chickens, most of them from the backyard poultry- other than commercial one, said Animal Husbandry Commissioner S.K Bandhopodhayay at a press conference here today.

"We are hopeful that in Navapur and Uchchal, the virus could have been contained there as the culling operation was conducted in a radius of 10 kms against the usual practice of restricting it to 'hot-affected' area of of three kms radius," said Animal Husbandry Joint Secretary Ms U.Chaudhary.

In the fresh outbreak area of Jalgaon district, as many as 60 Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) are in place for conduct of operations.

Pursuing the strategy of 'control and containment' with the active support of the Maharashtra government, as many as 17,150 birds had already been destroyed in Marul, Sawada villages with the help of locals there. Other affected villages are Hated and Salve.

Besides poultry, surveillance of a population of 75,427 in 25 villages falling in infected zone of three kilometres has begun on pattern of 'pulse polio' by deploying 147 member team of health workers there, said a Health and Welfare Ministry official.

In addition to that every person entering and leaving the affected zone was being screened for normal cold and such other ailments. The 100-bed hospital, in nearby Chopda,a community health centre at Nhavi have been upgraded besides setting up a 20-bed four ICUs in Chopda hospital.

The required medicines and vaccines have already been airlifted to that area.

As many as 6600 samples have already been tested at High Security Animal Laboratory at Bhopal , facilties of which has already been reinforced.

The authorities, however, maintained that there could not be nay link between the outbreak of the flu in two places and the disease could be developing simultenously.

"We can not ascertain as of now what was cause of outbreak and from where the virus travelled to these area.. for that matter now migratory birds and imported feed and vaccine are also being tested", Mr Hakeem said.

Bird flu is spreading across the world with initial cases of H5NI and H5 infection in poultry found in 21 countries including Pakistan, Myanmar, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, France, Egypt and Greece.


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