Centre confirms outbreak of avian flu in West Bengal

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Jan 15 | Updated: Jan 16 2008, 05:16am 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 on Tuesday.

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 northeastern 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 localised 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.