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Scare returns to haunt State

THE STATE has upped vigilance, especially in the districts bordering Maharashtra, following confirmation of fresh cases of bird flu in Jalgaon district in Maharashtra on March 14.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 13:01 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

THE STATE has upped vigilance, especially in the districts bordering Maharashtra, following confirmation of fresh cases of bird flu in Jalgaon district in Maharashtra on March 14.

The State was already on alert since February 18 when the first cases of bird flu were reported from Maharashtra. Directorate of the Veterinary Services has directed to constitute one cullers’ and one vaccinators’ team each in every district following reports of the fresh bird flu cases.

Also, greater vigilance is being maintained in Badwani, Burhanpur, Jhabua and Khandwa districts to ensure that no poultry or poultry products entered from Maharashtra. The State Control Room is functioning 24-hours and collecting and following up all reports on suspected cases.

The borders with Maharashtra and Gujarat are practically sealed since February 18 and 25 respectively as regards transport of poultry and poultry products.

Commissioner of Veterinary Services Rajesh Rajora has once again asserted that all the 1750 samples from Madhya Pradesh, tested by the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), have come out to be negative.

Rajora told the Hindustan Times that the death of about 80 poultry chicks over a period of nine days in Ichchapur tehsil of Burhanpur district was checked by veterinary teams, and it has been confirmed that the deaths had nothing to do with bird flu.

“However to be on safer side, we have collected the samples from these birds and sent them out to the HSADL for re-check,” Rajora said.

The Commissioner also said since the Jalgaon samples were of backyard poultry (poultry reared at homes), the vigilance on backyard poultry has been particularly increased in the State and samples are being collected from them. Also, as pigs and ducks have been found to be potent carriers of the virus, these animals have been put under surveillance too.

The cullers’ and vaccinators’ team in each district would include personnel from District Investigation Laboratories (DILs) who have been trained at the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

HSADL flooded with samples
MEANWHILE, the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) here is being flooded with samples from all across the country since the samples from Maharashtra and Gujarat tested positive. During the period between December 4, 2005 and March 11, 2006, the laboratory conducted tests on as many as 21,297 samples, out of which 30 have tested positive, HSADL
Director Dr H K Pradhan told the Hindustan Times.

Of these positive samples, 15 are from Navapur (Maharashtra), six from Uchchal, five from Songarh and Jamkhedi (all three in Gujarat) and four latest ones from Jalgaon (Maharashtra). He too confirmed that no samples from Madhya Pradesh tested in lab has been positive.

During last week, the laboratory received as many as 4,372 samples from various parts of country, during week before that it received 4,820 samples and week before that 4,310 samples. A team of about 14-15 scientists is working overtime to handle the huge flow.

Dr Pradhan said that the samples from places where mass death of birds are reported are tested on priority. He mentioned that the laboratory is yet to receive samples from Burhanpur and if it receives the samples by Friday evening, the testing would be completed in next four-five days. The samples that are pronounced positive go through at least four stages of testing – the HA Test, the HI test, the RT-PCR test and the Real-Time RT-PCR test.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 13:01 IST