December 8, 2008


Bird flu grips India's Assam districts



Bird flu has spread in four districts in Lower Assam in northeastern India with the virus confirmed in Kamrup (rural and metro) districts, Nalbari as well as Barpeta districts with close to two lakh birds targeted to be culled.


The virus was first discovered in Hajo area of Kamrup (rural) district in the last week of November.


State veterinary director Dr A K Kotoky said all precautious were being taken to ensure that the disease did not spread to new areas. No deaths have been reported so far from any other districts.


All towns and districts had already been put on high alert after the confirmation of the first outbreak almost ten days ago.


The present bird flu outbreak was reported to be the worst in the country, after the disease was first detected in Maharashtra in 2006.


Cooler temperature has increased the fear of wider bird flu spread as the virus was known to spread faster in low temperatures which also heightened the possibility of human infection.


Kotoky informed that one lakh birds had been culled so far, with about 70,000 more from commercial farms and private raisers targeted to be mopped.


Bird flu had already reached Guwahati, with culling operations on at Patgaon in Rani area, near the Guwahati airport, leading to a dip in sale of chicken and duck in the city. Amid declaration of safe poultry products as well as guidelines in proper cooking to kill the virus, people were still abstaining from consuming poultry products.


The traders had also stocked for bumper sale on that day but now the bird flu outbreak had brought it under doubt.

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