Avian flu appears again in India

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, January 15: | Updated: Jan 16 2008, 02:00am hrs
India once again has become the victim of the incidence of avian flu on poultry. The recent outbreak in Birbhum and Dakshin Dinajpur districts of West Bengal was confirmed by the central Government.

Earlier the incidence of Avian Flu on poultry occurred in early 2006, in western parts of the country, and in July 2007 in Manipur, in the North Eastern part. In 2006, the poultry industry suffered an estimated loss of Rs 30,000 million, while in 2007 it was Rs 6,700 million.

On January 11, 2008 unusual mortality of birds was reported from state poultry farm in Dakshin Dinajpur district and in some areas of Birbhum district in West Bengal. On the following day the state government collected samples and sent to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal. "One sample from each district of Birbhum and Dakshin Dinajpur districts have been found positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5 by the laboratory," said the animal husbandry commissioner at the Centre, Santanu Bandopadhaya.

He said that based on the initial assessment of the state government, there was death of about 35,525 birds in 102 villages in six blocks in Birbhum district and death of 288 birds in one state poultry farm in Dakshim Dinajpur district in the last seven days.

He said "the outbreak of the disease appears to be localized only to few blocks in Birbhum and only one farm in Dakshin Dinajpupr districts of West Bengal. There is no report of unusual mortality or sickness in the neighbouring areas."

On getting the report of unusual mortality of poultry birds in West Bengal the central Government had immediately deputed officers from the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries to reach the site. These officers have been present on the site since January 12, 2008 to advice and guide the officers of state government. The state government was advised to seal the border with neighboring countries and also the affected areas.

According to the West Bengal government sources 60 rapid response teams has been formed for implementation of action plan in the affected areas in Birbhum district. These teams are equipped with necessary protective equipments like masks, gloves.

Centre is planning to send 5,000 more personal protective equipment and masks to the state government as per their request. The Centre has also has impressed upon West Bengal government to provide compensation to the affected farmers whose birds are being culled Necessary funds have been provided by the Centre under its scheme for the purpose. The state government has also been requested to take immediate necessary action as per the detailed action plan already intimated in November, 2006.