M A I N   N E W S

2 fresh cases of bird flu, “but no need to panic”
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 25
The government is not letting its guard down despite all 95 samples testing negative for human avian influenza.
At the same time, it has said that reports about two fresh cases of bird flu in a poultry in Uchhal in Surat district of Gujarat actually pertain to samples that had been previously sent for testing to Bhopal.

Health Secretary, P.K. Hota told TNS that there has been no change in the bird flu situation in the last 24 hours.

Joint Secretary Health Vineet Chawdhry told TNS here on Saturday evening that there is no cause for panic as Uchhal is in the vicinity of the infected zone of Navapur in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra.

WHO Representative to India Habayeb told TNS that he was aware of the two poultry samples that have tested positive for bird flu. ‘Surveillance is going on. We have advised the Centre to sanitise the areas where culling has been done. We met members of the joint monitoring team comprising officers from the Department of Animal Husbandry, Ministry of Health and experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research.

“We recommend that the chicken must be properly cooked and should not be mixed with uncooked food.”

Sources in the Health Ministry said they were in touch with Gujarat and Maharashtra governments.

Joint Secretary, Health said they were keeing themselves posted of preventive measures. “Navapur has a lot of litter and faecal material in the commercial poultry farms. The faecal material is a very potent carrier of the HFN1 virus”. He said the government was going ahead with replenishment of its depleting national stockpile of Tamiflu. Apart from these measures, the Health Ministry is doing its bit to get the 3500 crore poultry industry back on track and rebuild the confidence of the people to consume poultry products. A nationwide public awareness radio campaign on bird flu is likely to go on air in the coming week. Mr Chawdhry told TNS that three radio capsules, each of 30 seconds would soon be broadcast on All India Radio in Hindi, English and regional languages.


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