Bird flu situation improving, says Indian minister

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Bird flu situation in West Bengal, eastern India, had not worsened, instead it is showing signs of “overall improvement”, said state Animal Resources Minister Anisur Rehman, “the state had set a target to cull 4,00,000 chickens within seven days of which 60,000-70,000 had already been culled”.

Indian minister affirmed that the villagers will not carry dead birds with bare hands. Trained volunteers armed with gloves, aprons and masks will carry the dead chickens. In many villages, villagers picked dead fowl with their hands and dumped them in ponds, increasing the risk of the virus. The minister will be visiting Margram, the epicentre of the outbreak in Birbhum district, and Murshidabad district today.

Bird flu virus has already been confirmed in three West Bengal districts of Birbhum, South Dinajpur and Murshidabad where culling continued for the fourth consecutive day today. Samples from Birbhum and South Dinajpur districts showed the presence of the deadly H5N1 virus, which can mutate and infect humans.

The districts of Burdwan, Bankura, Cooch Behar, Nadia and Purulia and 24 South Paragans reported several cases of bird deaths. But central officials said tests of samples in Purulia, Cooch Behar and Nadia proved negative for bird flu.

Source: Press Trust of India, India

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