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Bird flu: False alarm

H5N7 A non-deadly virus strain similar to the much-feared H5N1 virus has been found in the bird samples sent for testing from Sanver, which led to the confusion about a bird flu outbreak in the district.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 14:13 IST

H5N7 A non-deadly virus strain similar to the much-feared H5N1 virus has been found in the bird samples sent for testing from Sanver, which led to the confusion about a bird flu outbreak in the district.

The district administration determined to quell rumours and control panic was forced to send random samples once again from village Budhana. 

According to Veterinary Department sources, there were more than 400 kinds of general viruses in the environment divided into two types on the basis of their coating namely RNA and DNA. While the sample in question had a RNA type the bird flu (avian influenza) virus belonged to the DNA type.

The sample in question collected from the backyard poultry of Vishnu Prasad of the village about 25 days back was a part of the much larger exercise being conducted throughout the State.

However, when the virus strain was found to contain a parallel type, a technical alert was sounded by the laboratory, which set the alarm bells ringing and the half cooked news was picked up and floated without actual confirmation of the same and the district administration was left with little information and a lots of questions.

Divisional Commissioner Ashok Das chairing a meeting of the officials along with District Collector Vivek Agarwal decided on having a random sample survey so that a conclusive report could put to rest the issue once and for all.

The Veterinary Department team already deployed in the field as a precautionary measure took 15 nasal and excreta samples each from the village. Samples were also collected from nearby villages.

Veterinary officials said that no mass death of birds was reported from the area, while in the case of a bird flu outbreak birds die en-masse within 15 minutes. The bird from which the sample had been collected had survived all the while, a longer duration than a bird infected from avian influenza would have survived, until being eaten under mysterious circumstances by a cat.

The children from the village were all hale and hearty, which was a sure signal of the supposed bird flu being only a scare.