Thursday, January 24, 2008

Avian Influenza in nine districts of West Bengal in India

Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Govt. of India has notified Avian Influenza in poultry in a number of blocks spread over nine districts, namely Birbhum, Dakshin Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Bankura, Malda, Cooch behar, Burdwan and Hoogly.

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), Government of India has initiated a series of actions to assist the state in the containment operations and restrict further spread of the disease. The contingency plan of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been implemented in affected districts. Seven Central Rapid Response Teams are assisting the State in containment operations. In all the affected areas, active human surveillance is being undertaken in the 0-3 Km zone and being further stepped up in 3-10 Km area. Persons having Upper Respiratory Infection [URI]/ Fever are being monitored. Health care facilities have been identified with isolation ward and critical care facilities for management of human cases of Avian Influenza. The animal health staff involved in the culling and sanitization operations and those involved in human health surveillance are being provided chemoprophylaxis and their health status is being monitored. No suspected human cases of Avian Influenza have been detected. Five samples tested so far have been reported negative.

MOHFW has supplied 1,20,000 capsules of Oseltamivir, 5000 personal protective equipments, 5000 N-95 masks and 5 ventilators. This is in addition to 10 ventilators and 10 semi automatic analyzers supplied earlier. An additional supply of 1,00,000 capsules of Oseltamivir, 100 bottles of Oseltsamivir syrup and 5 ventilators have been sent on 23.01.2008. There is adequate stock of Oseltamivir and Personal Protection Equipments to meet further requirements.

States of Jharkhand, Bihar and Assam that share a common border with West Bengal have been instructed to ban and prevent any entry of poultry or poultry related products from West Bengal into these States. Other States have also been put on alert. Central teams have been deputed to the states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and other North Eastern States to review the level of preparedness and fill critical gaps. The preparedness of the districts bordering West Bengal is also being reviewed through videoconference with state/ district authorities.

MOHFW has initiated a campaign to sensitize the community through the visual and print media. A control room is functioning from the Emergency Medical Relief division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in New Delhi from 8.00 AM to 8.00 PM. The control room number is 23061469.

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