By IANS, [RxPG] Panic over the avian influenza receded in India Friday after tests showed no human had been infected by the virus even as a clean-up exercise continued in the Maharashtra region that reported the country's first case of bird flu.
Authorities said the test results of all 95 blood samples of residents of Navapur village in Nandurbar district, some 300 km from here, had tested negative for the H5N1 strain of the virus.
The samples were tested at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, Delhi, and the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Ninety had tested negative up to Tuesday. Four more tested negative Thursday. The result of the last sample was announced Friday.
"All those people, who were quarantined in Navapur hospitals after they reported flu-like symptoms, are normal and there is no case of human avian influenza," said an official of Maharashtra's health department.
"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," said the official.
Authorities said a massive clean-up exercise had been launched after the extermination of hundreds of thousands of birds in Nandurbar with a view to contain the disease.
The government has offered farmers compensation of Rs.40 for every bird culled. Poultry farmers say this is too meagre to help them tide over their massive losses.
The Nandurbar district administration has decided to restrict the movement of people and vehicle traffic within a three-km radius of Navapur. The entry and exit of people by road and rail would be regulated.
India's first confirmed case of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza was reported Saturday from Navapur after tests were conducted on thousands of dead chickens.
Known to spread to human beings, the H5N1 strain of 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.
Indo-Asian News Service
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