Jalgaon alert: 2 in hospital
A DOCTOR with fever and respiratory problems was under observation as the administration in Jalgaon completed the culling of tens of thousands of birds to contain a second outbreak of avian flu, officials said on Sunday. The latest outbreak in Jalgaon was the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu, but it has not infected people so far.india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 13:30 IST
A DOCTOR with fever and respiratory problems was under observation as the administration in Jalgaon completed the culling of tens of thousands of birds to contain a second outbreak of avian flu, officials said on Sunday. The latest outbreak in Jalgaon was the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain of bird flu, but it has not infected people so far.
However, late on Saturday, a doctor walked into a local hospital and asked to be put under observation, joining a 11-year-old boy with high fever and a history of exposure to dead birds.
"The doctor is not from the affected region and neither was he exposed to dead birds, but we didn't want to take a chance," T.P. Doke, Maharashtra's health director, told Reuters.
Blood samples of the two had been sent for testing. The boy was being given Tamiflu, the drug that fights bird flu in humans. The district collector said the boy was examined by a team of specialists from National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi, and National Institute of Virology, Pune, on Saturday.
Health officials were monitoring 65,000 people spread over 17 villages. Of them, some 150 people had fever, but authorities said the figure was normal.
"Moreover, these people aren't showing flu-like symptoms, just normal fever," said Vijay Satbir Singh, Maharashtra's most senior health official.
“We have monitored almost 70,000 people in two rounds,” Vijay Singhal, district collector, Jalgaon, told PTI. “We’ll keep checking the same population for flu-like symptoms for 10 days after the last bird is culled.”
Blood samples of about 90 people from Jalgaon had been sent for testing, but officials said that was purely out of “academic curiosity”.
Veterinary officials said they had finished culling all chickens — numbering more than 75,000 — in four villages spread over 1,100 sq km in Jalgaon district identified as affected by the outbreak. Samples from unaffected poultry elsewhere in Maharashtra were being collected to ensure bird flu had not spread beyond Jalgaon.
Jalgaon is 200 km from Navapur, where India reported its first case of the H5N1 strain in poultry last month. After the first outbreak, more than 100 people were tested for bird flu but all proved negative.
Last week the authorities said they had contained the virus after culling hundreds of thousands of chickens in Navapur town and neighbouring areas, but within days the second outbreak was reported from Jalgaon.