First human death reported
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First human death reported

In a suspected case, a 27-year-old poultry farm owner died in Gujarat.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 20:08 IST

A man has died of suspected bird flu in western India, a top official said on Sunday, a day after Maharashtra reported its first bird flu infections in poultry.

"A poultry farm owner died on Friday in Surat district. Local tests have confirmed bird flu but we have sent samples to the national laboratory. A final report is awaited," Vatsala Vasudev, the top district administrator of Surat said.

The dead man, Ganesh Sonarkar, 27, was a resident of Nandurbar district of Maharashtra, Vasudev said. She did not elaborate why Sonarkar had travelled to Surat.

"An alert has been sounded across Gujarat following the outbreak," the official said.

A local health official in Surat, OP Tiwari, said Sonarkar was admitted to a hospital in the town about 10 days ago and was "provisionally diagnosed with bird flu".

"He died on Friday," Tiwari said.

Adding to the sense of crisis, blood samples of eight people have also been sent for testing to a virology laboratory in Pune.

Four other people, including three children, were under observation. It was not clear if Sonarkar was among the eight being tested.

"We sent blood samples of these people who are associated with poultry because they had cold and cough," Vijay Satbir Singh, Maharashtra's top health official, said.

"We want to make sure they don't have any kind of flu."

Health workers in Maharashtra began culling about 300,000 chickens and vaccinating birds on Sunday.

TP Doke, the state's director of health services, said health workers were also distributing protective clothing, masks and preventive drugs to poultry workers.

First Published: Feb 19, 2006 11:02 IST