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Northeast states sound bird flu alert

India's northeastern region sound an alert by restricting the entry of poultry from Bangladesh and Myanmar after reports of an outbreak of bird flu.

india Updated: Apr 02, 2007 15:04 IST

Regional governments in India's northeastern region have sounded an alert by restricting the entry of poultry from Bangladesh and Myanmar after the two countries reported an outbreak of bird flu, officials said on Monday.
Tripura, Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh that share common borders with either Bangladesh or Myanmar have asked customs officials to ban entry of livestock and poultry from the two countries.

"We are worried as we have a 856 km long border with Bangladesh. A general alert has been sounded and steps taken to prevent outbreak of bird flu here," said Narayan Das, director of the animal resource department, Tripura.

Bangladesh has culled about 60,000 birds since the outbreak of the H5N1 flu virus was confirmed last week with 16 farms affected so far.

Myanmar has also confirmed outbreak of the avian flu in five townships in and around capital Yangon. The five townships are Mayangon, Hlaingtharya, North Okkalapa, Mingaladon and Hmawby.

"Poultry, quails and pheasants of the affected or possible affected farms and from the farms contiguous with the affected farms were culled and necessary preventive measures are being taken," said a statement by Myanmar's Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department on Monday.

A total of 1,863 fowls have died of the virus with 37,883 culled since the outbreak of the virus in February, the statement said.

"We have directed all border outposts with Bangladesh to ensure that no poultry enters into Assam," an Assam government health department spokesperson said.

Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh that share borders with Myanmar have sounded similar alerts. There has been no reported case of bird flu in the northeast but the spread of the virus in adjoining countries has led to panic in the region.

"People have already stopped eating chicken or even eggs and so the demand for fish and mutton has gone up manifold during the past week," said Bhairab Kanta Sharma, a local veterinarian.

First Published: Apr 02, 2007 14:49 IST