Bird Flu Confirmed in Three New Countries: India, France, Egypt
NEW DELHI, India, February 20, 2006 (ENS) - India announced its first cases of bird flu on Saturday and said rapid response teams will cull about 700,000 chickens in the western part of the country to prevent the spread of the deadly disease. Countries reporting bird flu for the first time on the weekend include France and Egypt.
In the western state of Maharashtra, the virus has affected as many as 52 poultry farms at Nawapur, in Nandurbar district in the northern part of the state.
About 50,000 birds have died in the area in the last few days, Ministry of Agriculture's Department of Animal Husbandry said samples of affected poultry from Navapur tested positive for the highly pathogenic H5N1 viral strain.
Animal Husbandry Minister Anees Ahmed said, "Yes, it is confirmed. The disease is H5N1. It has come to Maharashtra. We are treating it as an emergency."
An emergency meeting of the Cabinet Secretariat was called Sunday in New Delhi.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil said a Committee composed of the Cabinet Secretary and other Union secretaries are constantly monitoring the situation. He told reporters in New Delhi that the National Disaster Management has swung into action. Patil said expressed confidence that the efforts will succeed in containing the disease.
Animal Husbandry Commissioner S.K. Bandhyopadhya said in New Delhi that no case of avian influenza in human beings has been reported so far, but as he was speaking a farmer died of suspected avian flu in the northwestern state of Gujarat.
Union Health Secretary P.K. Hota said that eight people are being tested for the H5N1 virus in Maharashtra, while four more, including three children, are being kept under observation.
Maharashtra Public Health Minister Vimal Mundada said 20 teams of health department officials are conducting a house-to-house survey to see if anybody is affected by the disease.
The Navapur sub-district hospital has been strengthened with 15 isolation beds dedicated staff identified for treating cases. Four ventilators have reached Navapur along with two anesthetists.
As of Saturday, there were six cases of respiratory infection with mild fever who have history of poultry deaths in their backyard farms.
Culling operations are being carried out on four Gujarat commercial farms within the infected zone in the southern district of Surat. Backyard poultry will also be culled. Veterinary teams have been deployed to survey the neighboring area for signs of sickness and death in birds.
Disposal of the dead birds is being carried out immediately after culling. Cleanup operations and disinfection will take place immediately, officials say.
Officers of the government of India and the state governments Saturday conducted detailed training in control and containment operations. On Sunday, 45 teams were deployed to start culling operations. Another 15 teams are ready to go wherever they are needed.
The Central Rapid Response Team has educated the cullers on proper of use of personal protective equipment and self care, and the health status of cullers is being monitored continuously.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has dispatched additional 9,000 doses of Tamiflu and 2,000 sets of personal protective equipment to Maharashtra and 2,000 doses of Tamiflu and 1,000 personal protective equipment to Gujarat.
In Indonesia, bird flu claimed its 19th human victim when tests showed a 23 year old market worker who died a week ago had the H5N1 virus.
His death takes the number of known human cases of the disease worldwide to 171 and the death toll to 93. Two hundred million birds across Asia, parts of the Middle East, Europe and Africa have died of the virus or have been culled.
In Europe, French Agriculture Minister Dominique Bussereau said late on Friday there is a "90 percent" chance that several dead wild ducks found dead on Monday near Lyon are infected with the deadly viral strain. Test results for one of the ducks showed the presence of bird flu, the H5 virus, and tests for the H5N1 strain were underway, Bussereau said.
French President Jacques Chirac arrived at Palam Air Force Station in New Delhi Sunday for a state visit. Chirac flew to India after he participated Saturday in the first France-Thailand Economic Summit in Bangkok. He said the French government is ready to act on a possible bird flu outbreak.
Last week, France extended its ban on keeping poultry outside to the entire country, saying there now is a higher risk from bird flu following recent cases in Austria, Germany, Italy and Greece.
The Egyptian government appealed for calm Sunday after poultry infected with the H5N1 strain of bird flu was detected in several governorates, including Cairo.
Local authorities have reported cases of bird flu in seven governorates, from Dakahlia in the northeast of the Nile Delta to Qena in the far south. At least 10,000 birds have been culled at a chicken farm north of Cairo.
On Sunday, Egyptian officials closed the Cairo Zoo and seven other state-run zoos around the country, after 83 birds died there, at least six from the H5N1 strain of bird flu.
Cabinet spokesman Magdi Radi said that no humans have been diagnosed with the lethal virus.
Minister of Health Hatem el-Gabali told the Middle East News Agency that a consignment of Tamiflu will arrive in Egypt by the end of this week.
The Ministry of Health in Iraq has confirmed the country’s second fatal case of human infection with the H5N1 avian influenza virus. A 39 year old man from the northern province of Sulaimaniyah developed symptoms on January 18 and died on January 27.
He was the uncle of the country’s initial case, a 15 year old girl who died January 17, and provided care for her during her illness. He had a documented history of exposure to infected domestic birds.
|International Hydropower Association accused of excluding indigenous peoples and supporting Taib’s corruption USCC Releases Model Rule for Composting Operations ADA Carbon Solutions Announces New Hire of Vice President of Sales and Key Executive Promotions|