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Fresh bird flu scare in West Bengal

Fresh chicken deaths in Jangipur in Murshidabad district have raised fears of bird flu outbreak in West Bengal.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2008 17:57 IST

Fresh chicken deaths in Jangipur in Murshidabad district have raised fears of bird flu outbreak in West Bengal.

The State Animal Resources Development Minister Anisur Rehman told PTI on Sunday that the recent chicken deaths had been reported from Raghunathganj block in Murshidabad district.

The ARD department has sent the blood samples to the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal for confirmation of H5N1, Rehman said.

"We are awaiting the test results and will take steps accordingly," the minister said. Ruling out any major outbreak in any other part of the state, the minister said his department in coordination with the panchyats, was keeping vigil on the overall situation.

Admitting that the culling operations were not 100 per cent successful in the affected districts, Rehman said it was not possible for the government to make the system totally foolproof.

"We have checked the outbreak but there maybe stray cases," he added. Culling operations had been ordered from mid-January after 16 of the state's 19 districts were found to have been affected by deadly avian influenza and a ban had been imposed on the sale and consumption of chicken and poultry products for three months.

Nearly 40 lakh chicken were culled till February 5 and ban on sale of chicken and ducks was lifted a fortnight ago.

On February 22, culling was resumed in Murshidabad and Birbhum after Central government observers said the culling was incomplete in parts of the two districts.