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Eat chicken, no need to panic: government
February 20, 2006 09:17 IST
"Eat chicken, no need to panic," was the advice that Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss late on Sunday night as he maintained that the situation arising out of the outbreak of bird flu in Navapur, Maharashtra, was totally under control.
He, however, said the source of the outbreak has not yet been ascertained as the government was now focusing on containing the deadly disease from spreading.
"Rapid response teams have been rushed to the affected areas in Maharashtra. We have quarantined the entire area and the first phase of culling of three-to-five lakh chicken has begun," Ramadoss said.
He said only three birds have been tested positive for H5N1 strain till now and arrangements have been made to vaccinate poultry in the affected areas of Navapur tehsil of Maharashtra's Nandurbar district and Surat district in Gujarat.
"People need not panic. It is safe to eat a chicken after heating it for 20 minutes or 70 degree centigrade," Ramadoss said.
Teams from the National Institute of Communicable Disease are vaccinating poultry birds in a 10-kilometre radius of the affected area while simultaneously culling of chicken was going on in around 16 farms in Navapur, Ramadoss said.
"One million vaccines, adequate stocks of Tamiflu, the anti avian flu drug, protective gears have been rushed to the affected area," he said.
"The situation is under control. People need not panic," he said and rubbished reports of a person succumbing to birdflu in Surat district of Gujarat.
"There are reports that a person had died due to bird flu. Absolutely not. He has not been associated with affected birds in Navapur. The cause of his death was septicemia," he added.
He said the government has lifted samples from people associated with birds and sent them for testing.
Ramadoss said he was in touch with the chief minister of Maharashtra, the Prime Minister's office, Home Ministry and officials of the animal husbandry department and is monitoring the situation.
"We have sent advisory to all states to report immediately if there is any suspected case of bird flu irrespective of whether the number is less or more," he added.