Dec 2, 2008

India - Loses bird flu-free status

Gargi Parsai

NEW DELHI:Barely three weeks after India declared itself to be free from the highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (Bird Flu), the deadly disease showed up in Kamrup district of Assam last week.

Consequently, India has notified the World Organisation for Animal Health(OIE), about the outbreak of the disease and has lost its bird flu-free status.

A country has to be completely free from the disease for at least three months to be notified as such.

Samples from Rajabazar village in Assam tested positive for H5 strain of Avian Influenza at the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal on November 27, according to sources in the Department of Animal Husbandry here.

About 20 Rapid Action Teams were consequently deployed in the State to undertake the culling operations. Teams of Health Ministry officials have also been rushed from New Delhi.

The State government has so far stamped about 40,000 poultry and the culling operation is expected to be completed by Tuesday, the sources said.


The culling is being done as per the Action Plan of Animal Husbandry for Preparedness, Control and Containment. The plan, which is in consonance with international standards, requires all poultry to be culled within a radius of five kilometres.

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