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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
Avian Influenza Channel

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Medical News : Epidemics : Avian Influenza

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Avian influenza contained: India

Feb 24, 2006 - 2:21:00 AM , Reviewed by: Priya Saxena
"There is no human case of avian influenza till now. Nor is there likely to be as the 12 patients isolated at Navapur sub-district hospital are normal and clinically clear. It is highly unlikely that they will get pneumonia,"

[RxPG] Indian officials confidently asserted Thursday a bird flu outbreak in the western region had been contained and that no cases of human avian influenza had been reported.

"Culling operations in a 10-km radius of Navapur (town in Maharashtra that reported India's first bird flu case) concluded today. Besides, 94 of the 95 residents of the area tested for human avian influenza are in the clear," Indian Council for Medical Research chief N.K. Ganguly said at a media briefing.

The remaining case was being retested and the result would be known Friday, he added.

"Ninety-five samples have been tested at NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases) Delhi and NIV (National Institute of Virology), Pune. Ninety had tested negative up to 21.2.2006. Four more have tested negative. One sample is still under test and the report is awaited," an official statement issued earlier Thursday said.

"There is no human case of avian influenza till now. Nor is there likely to be as the 12 patients isolated at Navapur sub-district hospital are normal and clinically clear. It is highly unlikely that they will get pneumonia," Ganguly maintained.

India's first avian flu case was reported Saturday from Navapur, 300 km from Mumbai. Twelve people were hospitalised after they displayed flu-like symptoms.

There was consternation Wednesday when TV news channels reported that two of the 12 patients had contracted mild pneumonia.

Adding to this, Health Secretary Prasana Hota told a TV news channel that the possibility of the H5N1 bird flu virus jumping to humans "cannot be ruled out".

Late Wednesday night, the government issued a statement stating no case of human avian influenza had been reported. This was reiterated in another statement Thursday morning.

Giving details of the culling operations, Joint Secretary (Animal Husbandry) Upma Chawdhry said 345,192 chickens had been killed - 272,035 in Maharashtra and 73, 157 in Gujarat - in the operations that began Sunday morning.

Disinfection and decontamination work was underway in the poultry farms where the culling took place. Fifty-three tonnes of feed had also been destroyed, she said.

Compensation of a little over Rs.2.3 million had been paid to poultry farm owners and backyard poultry breeders in Gujarat, while backyard farmers in Maharashtra had received Rs.758,860, Chawdhry added.

"In the case of Maharashtra's poultry farmers, we are re-digging the graves where they say they had buried the chicken they had culled to ensure the process was done scientifically. If it was not, we will rebury the birds. Payment of compensation will begin after that," the official said.

"The situation is completely normal at ground zero as people are slowly becoming aware of the disease and the ways they can protect themselves from it," Maharashtra's Director General of Health Services T.P. Doke told IANS over the phone from Navapur.

"Till yesterday (Wednesday), some 500 people used to throng hospitals here every day even with signs of minor cold or cough. Today (Thursday) the number has decreased to 150," said Doke.

Local authorities have decided to restrict movement of people and traffic within a three-km radius of Navapur. The entry and exit by road and rail would be regulated.

Meanwhile, the sale of poultry products witnessed a sharp plunge in Mumbai as cautious customers preferred to stay away due to fears of bird flu infection.

In Mumbai's crowded Crawford market, poultry traders said their average sales had plummeted as much as 70 percent. Some of them feared for their livelihood if the prevailing situation continued for long.

"Just a week back, I used to earn at least Rs.1,000 per week by selling chicken here. In the last four days, I have hardly had even half a dozen customers," rued small poultry trader Mansoor Khan.

"If this situation continues for long, I don't know how am I going to feed my kids in the days ahead. It's the only source of livelihood for my family," he added.

The bird flu scare has taken a heavy toll on the sale of chicken and eggs even in Bangalore with shop-owners forced to sell stocks at half the normal rates.

In contrast, the consumption of fish and mutton has gone up substantially with demand outstripping supply. Apart from domestic consumers, customers from hundreds of restaurants and hotels have been queuing up to buy fresh fish and mutton at about 500 outlets across the city.

Known to spread to human beings, bird flu has resulted in nearly 100 human casualties across Southeast Asia, mostly in Vietnam. It has so far been reported in seven countries.

India is the world's sixth largest producer of eggs and the fifth largest producer of broiler chicken. It produced 43 billion eggs and 1.7 billion broilers in 2005, according to industry estimates.

Publication: Indo-Asian News Service

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