Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bhopal lab confirms bird flu in Manipur farm

The Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) has confirmed the presence of avian influenza in samples of poultry that were sent for testing from a farm in village Chingmeirong in Manipur.

The Centre has announced culling of poultry in two districts of Manipur following the death of a chicken in a small unit in Chingmeirong village in East Imphal district. “As many as 132 birds died in a period of six days from July 7. Seven out of the eight samples forwarded to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal, and the National Institute of Virology, Pune, showed signs of the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) (H5),” said a health ministry official.

“The disease is localised and limited to backyard units. Though there are no reports of unusual mortality or sickness in any neighbouring state, we will continue culling of poultry birds (commercial and backyard) within the five km radius. Around 1.5 lakh birds will be culled in Imphal West and Imphal East districts. It can take at least 10 days,” said an agriculture ministry official. Compensation would be paid to the owners of the poultry farms, he added.

As a precaution, the remaining birds in the infected unit were killed and the unit was fully sanitised, the official said. Though the reasons for the outbreak of the flu were not known, the officials did not rule out the possibility of infections from migratory birds.

Health officials said prophylactic cover (Tamiflu) had been provided to 21 people from three houses and nine veterinary employees exposed to the infected poultry.

Initial supplies of personal protective equipment and Oseltamivir have been rushed to the state. Though no human cases have been detected so far, a team of experts comprising microbiologists and epidemiologists has been sent to Manipur.

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