Saturday, January 26, 2008

Media raises concern on Bird Flu in West Bengal

Media reports on bird flu

Amarnath K. Menon and Swagata Sen in India today in their piece titled as 'Crying fowl' point out that the Bird flu in West Bengal is steadily getting worse and could easily spin out of control if it acquires a virulent form. The latest outbreak of the avian influenza sweeping West Bengal is the most serious India has ever faced—with grim portents of affecting the nation’s poultry business. The media report says that spread could have been contained had the state taken timely preventive measures. It points out as preparations for Eid were in full swing at Margram in Birbhum district, on December 15 last, Murshida Bibi, a small-time chicken farmer, noticed her flock of 33 behaving in a strange manner. The birds would go into a stupor, totter drowsily and fall. By the next morning her entire flock was dead. The village panchayat, on instructions from the local block development officer, said: “It is winter, chickens die of cold.” It also bring out an issues of communication that villagers blame the Government for not informing them about the hazards of bird flu even as many admit to roasting and eating the dead birds. Some tried to smuggle chicken, even to Bihar, to avoid losses.

Meanwhile AFP reports from Kolkatta that West Bengal, and calls it as country's worst outbreak of deadly bird flu, say that State Government has appealed to the federal government to send "all possible help to defeat" the virus. The call by state animal resources minister Anisur Rahaman came as authorities struggled to stop the disease spread. "We have to control the disease immediately as the deadly H5N1 virus has been spreading fast," Rahaman said to AFP, adding "avian flu is knocking on the doors of Kolkata," the eastern state's congested capital of 13.5 million people. "I'm urging the federal government to send all possible help to defeat the virus before it affects the humans," he told AFP.

Meanwhils PTI Reports that unseasonal heavy rains has slowed down the culling of poultry in the bird flu-affected districts of West Bengal and has also raised hopes of containing the flu virus, Animal Resources Development Minister, Anisur Rehman, said Saturday. "It has to be admitted that the culling operation is being affected in some places due to the rains. But scientists say that the rains also prevent spread of the virus," Rehman told PTI from Murshidabad.He said to PTI that there was no report of any fresh outbreak of the disease from anywhere in the state on Saturday.

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