India, which is recently affected by the spread of bird flu in the areas bordering Bangladesh, has alleged that the latter had not informed about the outbreak in that country for the neighbours to take timely action. Bangladesh has, however, refuted this allegation.
The outbreak of bird flu, which was confirmed in the bordering areas of West Bengal on January 15, 2008 rapidly spread to 13 districts of the state, namely Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Nadia, North 24-Parganas, Murshidabad, Burdwan, Cooch Behar, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Howrah, Bankura, Hoogly and Purulia. Bird flu did not reach Kolkata, though it reached the surrounding districts like North 24-Parganas, Burdwan, Howrah and Hooghly.
Not only this, the bird flu reached Kurseong Block of Darjeeling district which was confirmed on May 5, 2008 and the presence of bird flu was also confirmed in Bijanbari Block of the same district on May 16. Darjeeling district is close to Nepal and Bhutan which are apprehensive that the virus may jump to their areas.
The veterinary official of the South Asian countries began a two-day deliberation in Delhi on Monday to sought out the contentious issue. The animal husbandary secretary of the host country, Pradeep Kumar, offered to share with SAARC nations, Indias laboratories and expertise in prevention and control of diseases such as bird flu.
He said that all SAARC nations had similar livestock systems and economic and social realities and suffer from inadequacies of veterinary infrastructure and shortage of technical manpower. It is, therefore, imperative that they share veterinary information and know-how with neighboring countries, especially in dealing with trans-boundary diseases, he said.
He called upon the delegates to evolve an action plan to tackle trans-boundary animal diseases. Sharing of information immediately on onset of a major disease in a country is of paramount importance in checking spread of such a disease. There is scope for co-ordination among SAARC nations in all areas of veterinary science, from capacity building, diagnosis and prophylaxis, to edidemiology, he said.
This is the third year in succession, India has come under the influence of bird flu. Earlier, the incidence of bird flu on poultry occurred in early 2006, in western parts of the country, and in July 2007 in Manipur. In 2006, the poultry industry suffered an estimated loss of Rs 30,000 million, while in 2007 it was Rs 6,700 million.