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Home > News > PTI

Bird flu: Maharashtra team to aid West Bengal

January 25, 2008 12:44 IST

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The animal husbandry department of the Maharashtra government has sent a team of bird flu experts to West Bengal in order to assist the state government to deal with the outbreak and controlling the disease.

"We have sent eight people to West Bengal to assist the state administration involved in containing spread of bird flu," Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Commissioner Ashish Sharma told PTI from Pune.

They will use their expertise in dealing with the disease as the first outbreak of this disease was in Maharashtra, Sharma said.

"The team is headed by a deputy director, posted in the investigation wing of our department, two officers involved in culling process when bird flu struck in Navapur and Jalgaon and two others who are aware of the procedures," Sharma said.

The officers would be handling some of the culling teams in areas affected by the bird flu.

"Joint Commissioner Animal Husbandry Department, India, A V Negi is coordinating with the teams being sent from various states to West Bengal for assisting the state government. We asked our team members to communicate with him," the commissioner said.

He also hoped that West Bengal government would refer to the reference material on containing spread of the disease documented by Maharashtra government during its outbreak in February-March 2006.

The deputy director and two officers went on Monday. The remaining five members of the team went on Thursday, Sharma said.

It may be recollected that when the disease was first reported in Maharashtra, the virus was contained within three km radius of Navapur town in Nandurbar district.

Soon another outbreak was reported from Jalgaon district, but here too the virus was contained.

In contrast, bird flu has spread to almost half of West Bengal. Nine out of 19 districts -- Birbhum, Murshidabad, South Dinajpur, Burdwan, Nadia, Bankura, Malda, Cooch Behar and Hooghly -- have fallen prey to avian influenza in West Bengal.

Apart from the animal husbandry department, environment conservation organisation -- Bombay Natural History Society -- too has sent a two-member expert team in the affected regions of West Bengal.

"Our team in West Bengal has been collecting samples for the last 10 days. They are visiting water bodies near the affected regions and collecting blood samples from migratory birds present there," Director and Principal Investigator, Avian Influenza project, BNHS Asad Rahmani said.

The collected samples are being sent to the high security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal for testing, he said.

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