Bird Flu Panic In India

The Bird Flu virus is creating a growing sense of panic in India.
For the first time, there is a real sense of fear of the killer virus, not only in the effected states of Bengal and Bihar but all over India.
 The Times Of India Editorial put it this way- An Excerpt:
More than 6,00,000 eggs are piling up in Namakkal, the poultry capital of Tamil Nadu, even as egg prices slide with the fall in demand.
Thousands of broiler chickens are waiting in the wings as poultry entrepreneurs pray for importers to resume buying. The avian flu outbreak in West Bengal has simply devastated the poultry farmer in Tamil Nadu — setting the industry back by over Rs 500 crore — though the distance between the two states is thousands of kilometres and there is absolutely no sign of the virus in the south. Meanwhile, the government of West Bengal — where the H5N1 flu virus has now infected poultry in half the state — is unable to contain the outbreak.

It is wasting precious time sparring with the Centre, which has accused the state government of not doing enough on time.
The West Bengal government must act quickly to contain the outbreak, before it spreads to neighbouring states. Five persons have been quarantined in West Bengal as they have shown symptoms of avian flu, but as yet there are no confirmed cases.

Right now the impact on the poultry industry is much more disconcerting. It is losing out on huge export orders to countries in the Gulf among others. Fear of a possible pandemic is turning consumers away from chicken and eggs.
This is a pity since they are a relatively affordable source of protein. Poultry exporters say that they want the central government to divide the country zone-wise so that there is a clear understanding of which parts are affected and which are not. Zoning would help producers label their products.

This proposal should be implemented. Zoning and labelling would help revive exports somewhat. The World Health Organisation says this is the worst outbreak of H5N1 virus in India till date.
But the infrastructure and laboratory facilities to enable documentation, testing, detection and research in both animal/bird and human samples are inadequate.

Spread of Bird Flu in to Bihar could be really bad news.

The State Government of Bihar today ordered culling of chickens in six panchayat areas in Katihar district, adjacent to affected Malda district of West Bengal, “as a preventive measure”, a day after imposing a blanket ban on entry of poultry from the neighbouring state.
Earlier, contrary to the claims of the West Bengal govt that bird flu has been contained, the deadly virus on Wednesday was detected in samples of dead chicken in Cooch Behar district.
The state of Bihar is under-developed even when compared to most of the other regions of India.
The poverty and lack of education, specially within the large Muslim population in Bihar makes it an ideal target for the killer virus.
Basic Hygiene and common sense give way to tradition and religious practices in this part of India
I have always believed that the number of the human victims of the bird flu are directly related to the custom of Halal, where the poultry is killed by making a cut in the throat of the bird and letting the blood flow out while the bird is held up side down by its feet.
Bihar like the State of West Bengal, is host to millions of refugees from the neighbouring country of Bangladesh, where H5N1 is thought to be endemic now.
So if bird flu in Bengal is bad, it could be a lot worse in Bihar.