Maharashtra to assist West Bengal to control bird flu

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Pune, Jan 25 : The Maharashtra Government's Animal Husbandry Department has sent a team of bird flu experts to West Bengal to help in curbing the outbreak of the disease.

"We have sent eight experts to West Bengal to assist the state administration involved in containing spread of bird flu," Maharashtra State Animal Husbandry Commissioner, Ashish Sharma, said in Pune.

Sharma said the expert's would use their expertise in controlling the further spread of disease as the first outbreak of this disease was in Maharashtra.

"The team is headed by a Deputy Director, posted in the investigation wing of our department, two officers involved in culling process when bird flu struck in Navapur and Jalgaon and two others who are aware of the procedures," Sharma said.

Experts team would accompany culling teams in the affected areas of West Bengal.

"Joint Commissioner Animal Husbandry Department, Government of India, A V Negi is coordinating with the teams being sent from various States to West Bengal for assisting the state government. We asked our team members to communicate with him," the Commissioner said.

He also recommended the West Bengal Government to take reference from the material on containing spread of the disease documented by Maharashtra government at the time of bird flu outbreak in February-march 2006.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rehman claimed that the situation was under control.

About 160,000 poultry birds have been culled in West Bengal so far, while over 100,000 birds have succumbed to the disease.

The H5N1 strain has killed more than 200 people globally since it re-emerged in Asia in 2003 and has since spread across much of Asia, the Middle East, parts of Europe and Africa.

The WHO has called the outbreak the most serious in India.

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