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Flu scare enters U’khand

Fear of a bird flu outbreak grips Uttarakhand after Dehra Dun reported a dozen chicken deaths over the past two days, report Utpal Parashar and Subhendu Maiti.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2008 01:24 IST
Utpal Parashar and Subhendu Maiti
Utpal Parashar and Subhendu Maiti
Hindustan Times

Fear of a bird flu outbreak has gripped Uttarakhand after Dehra Dun reported a dozen chicken deaths over the past two days.

The deaths occurred at a poultry shop in the capital’s Tarla Aamwala area. The owner immediately buried nine birds and kept one for tests. Although veterinary officials have denied any deaths due to bird flu, sale of chicken across Dehra Dun have dipped following reports of the deaths in local newspapers.

“We don’t have any information about deaths of chickens due to bird flu. The deaths at the poultry shop could have taken place due to extreme cold conditions in the past few days,” said chief veterinary officer Dr AS Negi.

The department has set up two control rooms in the capital and asked poultry farm owners and shops selling chicken to inform them in case of any unnatural death of chickens.

No case of bird flu has been verified in the state yet, but wildlife authorities are keeping a watch on migratory birds at the large water bodies. A large number of migratory birds visit every year and with such birds suspected to be the potential carriers of the flu spreading in West Bengal, authorities here are not taking any chances.

In Kolkata, three persons with symptoms of avian influenza have been admitted at the MR Bangur Hospital since Saturday night. They were involved in culling operations in the state. Director of health services Dr Sanchita Bakshi confirmed the cases and said their blood samples will be collected for testing by the National Institute of Communicable Disease in Beliaghata.

A senior health department official said Tarak Nath, 29, was brought to the hospital after he complained of high fever and headache. Tarak was part of the culling operation in Budge Budge. He reportedly did not continue the anti-viral Tamiflu tablets during and after the operation.