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India chickened out?

The South Asian nations have banned poultry products from India following bird flu outbreak in the region, but their worries continue.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 18:28 IST

The moment India confirmed its first bird flu case, neighbours acted swiftly and called for a ban on the country's poultry products.

Starting from Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan have so far banned Indian poultry to prevent the spread of avian or bird flu.

But despite that drastic step, which has left poultry exporters here suffering a loss of over $45 million, neighbours continue to express concern.

"Officially, there is a ban on importing poultries and eggs from India. But everybody knows that such bans are frequently violated and there are great difficulties in enforcing the ban against smugglers…" says Bangladesh daily New Nation.

Maintaining that Bangladesh cannot remain complacent in such a situation, the paper says, "…There are strong possibilities of infected Chickens and eggs from India coming into Bangladesh".

Bird flu has killed more than 90 people in seven countries since 2003. It is a highly contagious and the infection occurs through contact with poultry (chickens and eggs).

Twelve people have been quarantined in the Navapur town in Maharashtra -- where the virus was found in poultry on February 18.

According to health officials, so far, blood samples from 185 people, including those quarantined, were being tested at a virology laboratory in Pune.

Lauding Indian government for reacting swiftly, Pakistan daily Frontier Post says the India should emulate Thailand in combating bird flu.

"India would do well to emulate Thailand - seal off infected villages, put a premium on hygienic disposal of dead birds, begin active door-to-door monitoring and vaccinate all birds in affected areas on a war-footing."

First Published: Feb 22, 2006 18:21 IST