Sunday, March 09, 2008
Bird flu resurfaces in West Bengal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A fresh outbreak of bird flu in poultry has been reported from West Bengal, officials said on Sunday, a month after authorities there said they had contained the virus.
The outbreak, the fifth in India since 2006, has been reported from two villages of Murshidabad district, officials said.
“We are worried that bird flu has returned to West Bengal because the outbreak seemed to be under control,” Anisur Rahaman, the state’s animal resources minister told Reuters on Sunday.
In January, the H5N1 virus affected 13 of the state’s 19 districts, including Murshidabad. The strain of the latest virus was still being tested, but Rahaman said preliminary checks have indicated the H5N1 strain.
More than 3.4 million birds were culled during the last outbreak, which the World Health Organization (WHO) described as the worst-ever in India.
India has not reported any human bird flu cases, but the earlier outbreaks had badly hit poultry businesses in West Bengal and had a limited effect on poultry sales elsewhere in the country.
The virus could have now resurfaced from infected backyard poultry saved from culling by villagers, Rahaman said.
“We are trying to find out the reasons, but it seems that villagers had hidden ducks and chickens during the previous culling operation,” Rahaman said by phone from Kolkata.
Bird flu story source: Reuters