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Central team rushes to bird flu-hit Assam

K Anurag in Guwahati | December 15, 2008 21:41 IST

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The Centre has rushed five teams of medical experts to the six bird flu-hit districts of  Assam, to check if the infection has spread to humans. But state authorities on Monday claimed that the bird flu outbreak has been brought under control and no fresh incidents have been reported in the last 24 hours.

Central teams of medical experts have not found any cases of humans being infected, informed a senior medical official. Earlier, the state health department had mounted surveillance after detecting some cases of upper respiratory tract infections in humans, in some parts of the bird flu affected districts.

The state government had informed the Centre that it was not well equipped to tackle large scale transmission of avian flu to humans, though it had kept some isolation facilities ready in some state hospitals.

The Centre has set December 16 as the deadline to complete culling operations in the six affected districts. The disease is feared to have spread to North Lakhimpur and Sivasagar districts in eastern Assam, and samples were sent for tests in Bhopal and Pune laboratories.

So far, 3.46 lakh fowls including chickens and ducks from backyard farms have been culled in the state. Over 1.40 lakh eggs and 11,000 kilograms of poultry feed were damaged as part of the operation.

The Central government has provided Rs 95 lakh to the state to pay compensation to affected poultry farmers. 

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