Bird-Flu-Free Zones to be set up in Pakistan

Do you remember the time, when there were Smoking and No Smoking sections in all of the flights?
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This meant that of the, ten rows of seats in the Business Class of an aircraft, the first few were Non Smoking and the remaining seats immediately behind those seats, were Smoking seats, or vice verse.
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No body seemed to have mentioned the above arrangement to the smoke from the cigarettes however.
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The smoke would naturally waft along the entire section of the business class.
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Pakistan is one of the few places on the planet, where smoking is still pretty much allowed in most places.
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May be that is why the Government of Pakistan has come up with a brilliant plan to fight the Bird Flu virus in that country.
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The powers that be in Pakistan (not sure if any one knows who they are at this time) have decided that they are to create Bird-flu-Free-Zones in the country.
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These Bird-Flu-Free -Zones will be areas of Pakistan,  where the Bird Flu virus will be banned.
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I guess that means that the rest of Pakistan will be free to have the H5N1 virus roam around at will!
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Exactly how this Moses like separation of natural elements is to be managed is not very clear.
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However, here are excerpts from a report from The News: 
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The Government of Pakistan is considering setting up ‘bird flu free zones’ and ‘poultry disease free units’ containing all bio-security measures in order to control the avian influenza .
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The sources said that all possible steps would be taken at the proposed zones to prevent the virus and diseases.
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The main focus will be on disposal of birds, restriction of wild birds and visitors, disinfection of vehicles, proper vaccination techniques, use of anti-viral spray and maintenance of health environment.
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Moreover, the sources said that there were (currently) no rules and regulations for registration of poultry farms though in the past there was some procedure wherein the Agriculture Development Bank used to grant loans for setting up farms with requirement to produce feasibility report.
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However, if the number of birds (at a poultry farm) was 100,000 or over, then a feasibility report as well as induction of a doctor was deemed necessary.
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Director Poultry Production and Research Sindh (PPRS), Dr Ali Akbar Soomro said that they have trained 16 ‘master trainers’, who have been provided necessary kits to conduct regular surveillance of poultry farms, he told The News.
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Moreover, the institute has set up three laboratories in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur respectively, while seven teams are engaged in creating awareness against the diseases across the province.
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They are working in 14 districts and do not have staff in the newly-created nine more districts of the province, Soomro said.
However, their areas of concerns are commercial layer farms, commercial broiler farms, backyard poultry and pet birds, where they are stressing for adopting preventive measures. Dr Ali Akbar Soomro added.

The strange death of Bird-Flu rapid response team member.

We have previously addressed in this blog, the “Cull” of the poultry being carried out within the quarantine zone set up by the Manipur State Government around the farm in Chingmeirong in Imphal East, where the recent outbreak was discovered.

As reported, there have been many arrests made of the poultry farmers within the zone who were suspected of trying to flee the quarantine zone with their live stock.

To add to this real human drama, we now have a strange death of one of the “Cullers” responsible for the destruction of the poultry within the quarantine zone.

Disease Prevention Area

A member of the rapid response team of Manipur’s veterinary department, which has been engaged in culling poultry since bird flu was detected in the state last week, died today after reportedly consuming formalin, a solution being used to spray the burial sites of culled birds.

Salam Babuyaima, a 53-year-old grade IV employee of the department, collapsed around 8.30am, when the team was preparing to depart for the day’s culling operations in Imphal East and West districts. He died at Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital an hour later.

Veterinary and health officials, who carried out routine health check-ups of the team this morning, ruled out any connection between his death and avian influenza.

The health officials said Babuyaima was found fit during the check-up.

Culling of poultry started on Thursday, following confirmation the previous day that more than 100 birds had died of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu at a farm in Chingmeirong in Imphal East.

Officials said that before leaving for work today, Babuyaima was asked to keep an eye on the materials collected by his team for the operations.

“He was holding an 800ml bottle of formalin and spray equipment. The team went down with the items from the quarantine while the grade IV employee lagged behind. On being asked, he said he had consumed formalin,” an official statement said.

Babuyaima collapsed on his bed in the quarantine ward and was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he died.

The formalin he consumed was highly concentrated, an official said.

Veterinary and health officials informed chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh who has decided that the post-mortem report would be made public to dispel any fear regarding the cause of the death.

Veterinary director Th. Dorendro Singh also said the post-mortem report would be made public.

Officials are tight-lipped about why the employee consumed formalin. Investigations are on. Culling operations continued today in spite of the incident, however, progress was slow.

While 16,000 poultry were killed by 3.30pm yesterday, only 9,800 were killed by the same time today.

Here is alink to the news Item from the The Telegraph:

Bird-Flu “Cull” in India, destroys Livelihoods.

The virus recently detected in Manipur, North East India, is one of the most worrisome H5N1 strains, which can in rare cases, infect and kill humans, usually those who spend a lot of time around infected birds.

It is understandable therefore, that the State Government has ordered a strict quarantine zone around the infected area.

The authorities have decided to destroy all chickens and eggs within the said quarantine zone.

Health workers have already killed around 25,000 chickens and destroyed thousands more eggs since Thursday to try and contain the virus. They plan to cull 150,000 in all within the quarantine zone by next week.

That is I suppose again the right thing to do, from the point of view of the Government.

For the local farmers though, who are going to lose all of their poultry stock, this is nothing short of disastorous.

It is almost impossible for the western mind, to imagine the kind of poverty that exists in these rural areas.

In most cases, the live stock is the only source of income for these very very poor farmers.

The state government has said it will give farmers 40 rupees (about 60 Cents) for every one of their chickens it has to cull.

However, such declarations by the Government, of compensation for the culling of any live stock, are no comfort for the poor farmers who regularly deal with the official red tape, bureaucracy and corruption.

No wonder that unhappy at the thought of their livelihood being destroyed, some poultry farmers have been trying to escape with their flocks before the “culling party” arrives.

More than a dozen farmers have so far been detained in local police stations until Saturday evening, by which time their flock will be dead, police said.

I dare say some of the fleeing farmers may have escaped capture!

Not sure where my sympathies lie in this case!!!

Here is a link to the news item from Reuters:

“Bird-Flu Panic in India” is not just another Headline Hype.

The Bird-Flu outbreak in the North East state of Manipur is creating havoc with the lives of the residents of the state as the Government launches emergency measures to fight the H5N1 Virus.

Following are a few news reports of the effects that the Bird-Flu outbreak is having in many parts of the country.

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In Manipur, the Government has imposed a ban on the sale of Poultry. The police have shutdown all poultry shops.

Most poultry shops in Imphal, the capital of Manipur, including the traditional Murgi Bazar (Chicken Market) of Khwairamband remained closed for the second consecutive day on Friday.

The Manipur poultry farmers are even harder hit with their entire stock of Poultry being taken away and destroyed.

The “panic” seems to have spread to several other states as well, in this vast country.

The State Governments of Orissa, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh Rajasthan and many other states have issued emergency orders to try and prepare for the worse scenario.

There is a great concern in Andhra Pradesh(AP) in terms of an economic loss for the state.

The poultry association is panic struck for they fear a loss of Rs 200 crores (1 Carore is 10000000) a month if egg exports are stopped.

One crore table eggs from the state are exported every month to Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

Due to the bird flu scare last year these countries had banned the eggs from India . The total loss that year was put around Rs 1000 crores.

It is understandable that the poultry trade in that state is scared of a repeat of the same this year

In Punjab (another huge supplier of poultry) the poultry trade was also “consumed by fear” after the news of the pathogenic avian influenza in poultry of Manipur spread.

In Nagaland, right next to the afflicted Manipur, the things are very tense indeed.

The Nagaland Department of Veterinary and Animal Husbandry held a high-level meeting yesterday and decided to intensify the existing ban on import of poultry and pigs and their products from neighbouring Manipur and Myanmar.

They also decided to carry out fogging (de-infection) on all vehicles entering the State from Manipur at Khuzama and Phesama check gates and asked villagers in nearby areas to co-operate with the government officials.

An alert has also been sounded in Rajasthan.

‘We have sounded an alert and have asked the animal husbandry department officials to remain vigilant,’ Prabhulal Saini, Rajasthan’s Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister told IANS here on Friday.

He said that surveillance teams comprising of veterinary doctors and assistants have been constituted and they have been asked to visit poultry farms and places where migratory birds come. The teams will submit their reports to the animal husbandry department on a regular basis.

The state has a big poultry industry with over 6.3 million birds, out of which the Ajmer district has over 2.5 million birds. Officials of the animal husbandry department said that to save these birds from the disease, the department has decided to inspect all the poultry farms in the state.

There are similar stories from all over the country arriving every hour.