Govt in panic as avian flu spreads

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, January 21: | Updated: Jan 22 2008, 01:29am hrs
The spread of avian flu to more areas in West Bengal has invited the concern of the central government.

Joint teams of the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries and health and family welfare ministry have begun touring the vulnerable states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Assam and Meghalaya. Team to Tripura and Mizoram are also begin their tour from Monday.

According to an official press release, the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) has confirmed positive results for avian influenza (H5) in respect of samples from Chachal-I block of Malda district, Nakashipara block of Nadia district and Mejia block of Bankura district in West Bengal on the basis of rapid tests.

A total of 22 samples had been sent to HSADL from North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Nadia, West Midnapur and Birbhum districts on January 20, 2008.

As per latest information received, a total mortality of 1,07,881 poultry birds was reported from Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Burdwan and Bankura districts in West Bengal.

On January 20 about 154 rapid response teams were deployed for culling operations in West Bengal. The cumulative number of birds culled since the first confirmation of outbreak in West Bengal is 160,440. About 79,260 eggs and 2865 kg feed have been destroyed so far in all the affected areas.

This is the third year in succession, India has come under the influence of avian flu. 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.

This time the poultry industry is face a loss of Rs 165 million a day as the prices of live birds and eggs dipped on account of the recent outbreak in West Bengal.