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8 more bird flu suspects surface

Meanwhile, M'rashtra health workers on Tuesday culled over 1.5 lakh chickens.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 10:01 IST

In fresh suspected cases of bird flu, eight persons were admitted to a hospital.

Health workers on Tuesday culled more than 1.5 lakh chickens and destroyed an equal number of eggs.

As the culling operation continued within the three km area with only 50,000 birds remaining to be eliminated, the authorities decided to extend the area of the exercise up to 10 km radius of Navapur covering organised and unorganised sectors bringing in its sweep remaining six lakh chickens.

The culling of over 60,000 chickens in Uchal taluka of Surat district of Gujarat near Navapur was completed after which authorities turned their focus on bird feed imported by poultry farmers to ascertain if they were infected.

The new patients with symptoms of suspected avian influenza were admitted to isolation ward of the sub district hospital on Monday following the door-to-door medical check, taking the total number of patients under observation in the ward to 11, Civil Surgeon Dr MV Munde said.

"There are eleven patients now admitted in the isolated ward for suspected bird flu, including eight who were admitted on Monday following door-to-door survey and three others were admitted on Sunday," Munde said.

The blood samples of all these people were sent to National Institute of Virology in Pune for testing and reports are expected in three days, he added.

The three patients, who were admitted on Sunday, were those in contact with the Ganesh Sonar who died in Surat last week and two of his family members, Munde said.

Expediting culling operations, ten earth moving machines were pressed into service to help burial of the birds.

About 1.58 lakh eggs were destroyed as part of efforts to stop the spread of bird flu and 25 tonnes of feed material disposed of, Joint Secretary Animal Husbandry Department Upma Chaudhary said.

Maharashtra government scaled down the figures of chicken to be culled from nine lakhs to close to two lakh birds saying poultry farm owners had either sold or buried the remaining birds before the culling operation began.

With nearly 1.5 lakh birds having been culled since Monday, Government claimed all birds in the three-km radius sealed area of the bird flu-infected Navapur will be culled by the end of the day.

"Culling process in the 10-km radius outside the sealed area will commence tomorrow," Maharashtra Animal Husbandry Minister Anees Ahmed said.

Earlier, Chief Minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh reassured that bird flu had not infested any other part of the state amid reports that 1000 chicken had died mysteriously at Hingoli district of Marathwada in central Maharashtra on Monday.

As the Government efforts to pin down the cause of the virus gathered momentum, a show-cause was issued to chicken giant Venkateswara Hatcheries for allegedly supplying bird flu affected chicken to two poultries in Navapur.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 02:43 IST