By IANS, [RxPG] India, which confirmed its first bird flu infection in poultry Saturday, has so far had no human casualties although tests on 12 "active cases" are currently underway in Pune, a top official said here Sunday.
"One death was reported in the affected area in Maharashtra though it was not due to avian influenza, but we are not taking any chances and every casualty in the affected area due to fever and illness is being investigated," Health Secretary Prasanna Hota said.
"Their blood samples have been sent for testing in Pune and results are awaited in two days," Hota told IANS.
Test reports for confirmation of avian flu generally take 72 hours.
Hota said there are a dozen active cases of people who are unwell and have been kept under observation though there are no clinical symptoms of cold and respiratory distress.
He added that all the states have been advised to be on the lookout for suspected cases.
India earlier sounded an alert Saturday after the country's first avian flu cases were confirmed, and the government said 300,000 to 1 million chickens will have to be culled to curb the virus that has killed 50,000 birds in Maharashtra - and is known to spread to humans.
The government moved into top gear soon after Bhopal's high security Animal Disease Laboratory reported the country's first bird flu cases from Navapur village of Nandurbar district, some 300 km from Mumbai.
Known to spread to human beings, H5N1 strain of bird flu has so far resulted in nearly 100 human casualties across Southeast Asia, mostly in Vietnam.
The avian flu has so far been reported in seven countries. More than 140 million chickens have been slaughtered in an effort to contain the disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
India is the sixth largest producer of eggs and fifth largest in the broiler chicken output. The country produced 43 billion eggs and 1.7 billion broilers in 2005, according to poultry industry estimates.
Exports account for a negligible portion of the production, mostly to the Gulf region.
Indo-Asian News Service
Advertise in this space for $10 per month.
Contact us today.