March 10, 2008


India under scrutiny again due to fresh poultry deaths in West Bengal



Poultry deaths in Murshidabad district of West Bengal have raised fears of another bird flu outbreak.


More than 900 poultry had died over the past two weeks and officials said they would be culling a few thousand poultry in the area to contain this new outbreak.


Blood samples have been sent to the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal for confirmation of H5N1, according to the state animal resources minister, Anisur Rahaman.


Rahaman said they are now waiting for test results while his department is keeping an eye on the situation. He admitted that the culling operations, which had disposed of nearly 4 million birds so far, were not 100 percent successfully.


Efforts to contain the bird flu disease were hindered, as villagers were reluctant to hand over their poultry for culling. Many villagers had taken to hiding their poultry from health officials, while low biosecurity awareness was also reported.


Smuggled poultry from bird flu-ravaged Bangladesh, which borders West Bengal, could also be the reason behind this new outbreak, Rahaman said.


Villagers in Murshidabad were warned on Sunday (March 9, 2008) to stay away from backyard poultry and to cooperate with culling teams.

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