PTI reports that a "prediction map" has been prepared by research associate Dr Dibyendu Adhikari and Arun Chettri of the Department of Botany, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), which was made public on Wednesday, claimed that some areas in Northeastern region were vulnerable to the H5N1 virus. The map also highlighted areas in West Bengal, which has already been affected by the out break of the virus, and most districts of Bangladesh which had a "suitable environment for proliferation of the bird flu". Though the map covers potential risk zones of bird flu in almost all northeastern states, including Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram, the hilly areas in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have been identified as lower-risk zone.
Adhikari and Chettri said the prediction map of the potential risk areas of bird flu in the Northeastern India was made through the technique of Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM).
ENM involves using artificial intelligence algorithm called Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Prediction (GARP) along with the Geograhic Information System (GIS) technology, they said. They called for precautionary measures like proper monitoring of the areas visited by migratory birds in Assam to check spread of avian influenza in the region. In earlier studies, the technique successfully predicted the prevalence of infectious diseases like ebola, chagas, human monkeypox, malaria and dengue in different parts of the world, Adhikari and Chettri said.