No one is really surprised at the current Bird-Flu outbreak in India.
The surprise is in the fact, that with the neighbouring countries of Buma, Bangladesh and China all afflicted with repeated outbreaks of the H5N1 virus, it took so long for the Bird-Flu to manifest itself in the worlds second most populace country.
following consultations with Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the centre has decided to set up a central control room in the Agriculture Ministry, to prevent spread of bird flu to other parts of the country.
The control room that will also have officials from Health and Animal Husbandry Departments will send out alerts across the country and seek information on any suspected cases of ‘bird flu’ in their respective areas.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, (one of the most powerfull cabinet ministers, with his base in Maharashtra and specially in Mumbai, the financial centre of India) is expected to review the “confirmed reports” of large scale bird flu tha has hit a Chingmeirong farm in Manipur earlier this month.
It is learnt that Pawar would brief the Prime Minister and other senior Cabinet colleagues on the bird flu that has hit the North Eastern state possibly due to a virus H5N1 which must have travelled from across Myanmar and Bangladesh borders. “Situation is grim” said an official on condition of anonimity. “The bird flu is likely to hit the economic sentiment at macro level while the poultry industry and their stocks are bound to be impacted” said this official source.
This is the third case of bird flu that has been reported with earlier cases in Maharashtra and villages bordering Gujarat. Sources said that the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory in Bhopal has apparently confirmed the cases of bird flu after serum analysis extracted from the dead chicken in Imphal.
In view of the positive results given by two laboratories viz. HSADL, Bhopal and NIV, Pune, India is required to notify the outbreak of HPAI to the global community through the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) (World Organization of Animal Health).
Such notification is also required to initiate the control and containment operations for Avian Influenza. Accordingly, outbreak of Avian Influenza has been notified in Chingmeirong, East Imphal District on 25th July, 2007.
What is interesting is that the bird flu cases have been reported despite claims that a regular sero-surveillance was being done.
This surveillance includes collection of birds’ serum from across the country that is analysed on monthly basis at five designated laboratories in the country.
However, only the laboratory in Bhopal has the wherewithals for final confirmation of bird flu cases that have had serious impact on even advanced economies of the world.
For a country as large as India to have a single specialised laboratary capable of analysing the H5N1 virus is scandelous, according to the opposition partis in the country.
A spokesman for the opposition said that it was hoped that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will take immideate steps to rectfy this glaring ommission.
Here is a Government of India Press Release:
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