PTI reports : Fears of bird flu spreading to humans in West Bengal were laid to rest with eight persons showing clinical symptoms of the disease medically cleared while authorities on Tuesday, raised the target of culling poultry to 20 lakh in the next one week.
Blood samples of the eight sick persons from the bird flu affected districts of South Binajpur and Birbhum were tested negative for the deadly disease by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases giving much wanted relief to a harried state administration.
NICD Director Shivlal told the media in Delhi that three samples which had been sent to NICD, New Delhi,had tested negative on Monday and its Kolkata branch , which tested five samples, confirmed on Tuesday that all of them are negative for the presence of Avian Influenza.
The state administration set a daily target of culling three lakh birds over the next seven days from tomorrow in the seven affected districts Birbhum, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, Burdwan, Nadia, Bankura and Malda. Three lakh birds have been culled since the outbreak of the disease last Wednesday. After Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss slammed the West Bengal government saying its delayed action contributed to the rapid spread of the disease.
"It could have been handled better", Ramadoss told reporters in Delhi but added that "things have now been put on track." Union Animal Husbandry Secretary Pradip Kumar said in Kolkata that another 100 teams would be added for the culling operations taking the total number of teams to 600 amid fears that bird flue may spiral out of control. He said West Bengal's border with neighbouring states have been sealed.