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Bird flu can strike India again: FAO

The UN agency Food and Agriculture Organisation warns the govt that the dreaded disease could resurface again.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2008 12:22 PM IST

India may be free from highly infectious bird flu now, but the UN agency Food and Agriculture Organisation has warned the government that the dreaded disease could resurface again.

The UN agency also asked the government to maintain intensive surveillance in high-risk areas.

The virus could still be present in the environment despite heavy culling and extensive disinfection of affected areas, or it could be re-enter from other countries, FAO Chief Veterinary Officer Joseph Domenech said on its website.

Commending the country's efforts in controlling bird flu in West Bengal, FAO said the public awareness campaigns, a strong command chain from districts to villages, compensation payments and an effective collaboration between animal and human health departments at field level, have been the key factors for the success.

FAO suggested to assess the socio-economic impacts of this control campaign in order to better define and apply the necessary mitigation measures regarding the negative impacts of massive culling of chickens and ducks, which belonged mainly to poor poultry farmers.

India had to cull over 3.9 million chickens and ducks, mainly belonging to poor backyard poultry farmers to stop the rapid spread of virus to other states and to avoid the risk of human infections, it said, adding that there have been no new disease outbreaks since February 2, 2008.

"Live bird markets, migration of wild birds and transportation routes of birds and poultry products should be mapped to better understand and control the spread of the disease," it added.

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