Surveillance and containment of the bird flu outbreak in Manipur was hampered with 752 health workers' protesting over the non-payment of their DA. Despite the slack, bird flu appears to be contained, with the 30 blood human samples tested at the National Institute of Communicable Disease at New Delhi and the National Institute of Virology at Pune having all tested negative.
As of now, increasing the compensation amount paid – including for the governor’s 16 ducks imported from Vietnam -- is top of the mind for state government. “We hope farmers will get more money. We've written to the government and I hope government will do something," said Dr Th Dorendra, Director of Veterinary department. Currently, poultry farmers are getting Rs 10 per chick, Rs 30 per broiler and Rs 40 per layer chicken culled.
Poultry farmers say the compensation amount is too little to sustain them through the three months through their farms would be sealed under international regulation to contain bird flu. “About 4,000 poultry farmers don’t have enough money to re-establish their trade after the three months sanitisation period is over. The monthly turnover of our business is around 3 crore, so we'll be losing Rs 10-15 crores in three months" says T Kunje, secretary, Manipur Poultry Farmers and Traders Association.
Containment measures include destroying poultry and feed in a 3-km radius o the infected farm, and monitoring of sudden death in poultry and symptoms of fever in humans in a 10 km-radius. So far, the state government has spent Rs 70.28 lakh as compensation for the culling of 3,31,606 chickens, 28,222 eggs and 23,153 kg of feed.
Bird flu in domestic and wild birds has been reported in 70 countries in four continents since it was first identified in Hong Kong in 1997. It has been confirmed in birds in neighbouring China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. China has confirmed 3 human cases and two deaths in 2007.
On February 18, 2006, India confirmed H5N1 – a bird flu virus subtype -- in poultry birds in Maharashtra. Between January 27 and April 18, 2006, several outbreaks were reported in two districts (Navapur and Jalgaon) of Maharashtra and adjoining areas in Gujarat. More than one million birds and over 1.5 million eggs were destroyed in a 10 km radius of the infected farms. India was declared free of bird flu in August 2006.
Though bird flu has been reported in humans in a dozen countries since 2003 – including neighbouring China and Thailand – no human cases of the disease have been reported in India. Worldwide, there have been 319 confirmed human cases and 192 deaths.
Containment measures have begun and the state government has asked the border security forces to stop people from bringing in poultry from Bangladesh, China and Mynamar. The Manipur government—the other six northeastern states too—had in April banned the import of chicken and other livestock from Myanmar following the outbreak of bird flu in that country. A similar ban was imposed on fowl imports from Bangladesh.