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Don't let cold, cough chicken you out!

Authorities say there's no need to panic as these are not the only symptoms.

india Updated: Feb 21, 2006 19:57 IST
Reuters
Reuters
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Hundreds of people with cold and cough were turning up at medical camps in bird flu-hit areas on Tuesday as authorities said culling of poultry would continue for at least one more day.

So far, India has reported no case of human avian influenza whose initial symptoms include cold, cough and fever. However, laboratory reports of eight people quarantined were awaited to conclusively rule out infection.

"About 500 people have walked into makeshift medical camps in Navapur to get checked for cough and cold since Monday evening," said TP Doke, health director of Maharashtra.

"We collected 46 new blood samples and throat swabs and have sent them for testing."

Doke said authorities had completed a door-to-door search in Navapur where 30,000 people had been examined. The drive to cull poultry in the area would continue at least until Wednesday, he added.

Witnesses said health workers wearing blue overalls, anti-viral masks and goggles were culling chicken by wringing their necks or mixing chemicals in their feed. The dead birds were then tossed into pits covered up by heavy earthmovers.

"We have culled about 3,00,000 birds and are vaccinating poultry around the area to create a buffer zone. The outbreak has been, by and large, contained," said Vijay Satbir Singh, Maharashtra's health secretary.

On Monday, federal health authorities said the situation was "under control", but all eyes were on the test results of eight people quarantined in a Navapur hospital with flu-like symptoms. The reports are expected on Wednesday.

India is testing dozens of people for avian flu after 50,000 birds died in Maharashtra and tests on some fowl last week showed H5N1.

Some hotels and domestic airlines said they were dropping chicken and eggs from the menu and the poultry industry said prices were down almost 40 per cent with buyers staying away.

First Published: Feb 21, 2006 02:43 IST