Monday, March 10, 2008

Bird flu resurfaces in West Bengal - fresh cases in Murshidabad villages

Fresh cases of bird flu have been detected in two Murshidabad villages. This is a month after authorities had said that they had contained the virus and had lifted the state-wide ban on selling chickens and ducks.

Bhopal’s High Security Animal Disease Laboratory reported fresh bird flu cases in West Bengal. The laboratory confirmed that the blood samples sent from Nayamukundapur in Raghunathgunj Block II and Dohapara village in Murshidabad-Jiagunj block were infected with the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu virus.

The two areas- where about poultry birds died in the past week. 60 rapid response teams would start culling chickens and ducks in the affected areas soonest said state official.

In West Bengal, the H5N1 virus that causes avian influenza had hit parts of 13 out of 19 districts. About 1.8 million people stay in the affected areas, Rahman had said.

Bird flu was confirmed in West Bengal on January 15. The affected districts were South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Hooghly, Birbhum, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan, Bankura, Malda, Cooch Behar, Purulia and West Midnapore.

India has not reported any human bird flu cases, but the earlier outbreaks had badly hit poultry businesses in West Bengal and had a limited effect on poultry sales elsewhere in the country.

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