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India declares itself free of avian flu

india Updated: Aug 12, 2006 22:10 IST

India has informed a global animal health body that it has regained its status as an avian influenza-free country.

"The final report in this regard has been sent by the department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries to the Office International des Epizooties (OIE) (the world organisation of animal health) on Aug 11," the agriculture ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

On Feb 18, India had notified the OIE of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza [HPAI (H5N1)] in Navapur and Uchchal area of the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Further outbreaks were notified in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra with a spillover into adjoining Madhya Pradesh.

The last outbreak was detected April 18, in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra.

"There has been no further outbreak of avian influenza in India after April 18," the OIE was informed.

Since the outbreak of avian flu in the country, nearly 67,000 samples have been tested at the High Security Disease Laboratory in Bhopal. All samples collected from the outbreak areas in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have been tested.

Surveillance around the areas of outbreaks and in the rest of the country has shown no evidence of the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza.

"India has, therefore, declared that it is free from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza," the statement said, adding that surveillance will continue given the global spread of avian influenza and the situation in the neighbouring countries where it is almost endemic.

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