Bird flu continues to spread in West Bengal
New Delhi/Kolkata : Bird flu continued to spread in West Bengal, and the virus was confirmed in three more blocks of Birbhum and Howrah districts though the state government said the situation was "under control".
"As per the latest report received from the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory, Bhopal (Tuesday morning), samples collected from Panchla block of Howrah district, Suri-I, Mayureswar-I and Nanoor blocks of Birbhum have tested positive for avian influenza," the union agriculture ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said that bird flu has been confirmed in the Kalyani municipality of Nadia district.
"It is gathered that the infection in new areas is not over a wide area but restricted to small pockets," the statement added.
The union health ministry said that in West Bengal a total of 42 blocks covering 2,600 villages and four municipalities were under surveillance. So far 1,998 cases of fever have been reported from the state, of which two people had a history of contact with poultry.
"Health workers are keeping a close watch on the situation. There has been no human infection so far," Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said in the capital.
In spite of the flu spreading to new areas, West Bengal Tuesday said it had received only one report of chicken deaths in a district adjoining Kolkata since Monday.
"There has been no report of any death of chickens in the state except for one at Baduria under North 24-Parganas district since Monday," West Bengal Animal Resource Development (ARD) Minister Anisur Rahman told IANS.
"The ARD team has been sent to Baduria where bird deaths were reported from a private farm. If they are found unnatural, we will collect the samples for test and also start culling there," he said.
North 24-Parganas was so far unaffected by bird flu which has erupted in 13 of the 19 West Bengal districts.
Rahman said culling was continuing at Kashipore and Alampur panchayat areas of South 24-Parganas district, about 15 km from Kolkata.
While West Bengal has already culled 2.2 million poultry since the outbreak was confirmed Jan 15, Rahman said: "The situation is still a little worrying."
"But the menace is now under control and the overall situation is improving," he said.
The 13 bird flu affected districts in West Bengal are Birbhum, South Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Nadia, Burdwan, Bankura, Malda, Hooghly, Cooch Behar, Purulia and Howrah, South 24-Parganas and West Midnapore.
Bird flu was first detected in two districts - Birbhum and South Dinajpur - of West Bengal.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has described the bird flu outbreak in West Bengal as "serious".
Meanwhile, over 3,000 chickens were found dead in a ditch in Theni district, 30 km west of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. However, a government spokesman said: "There is no indication of bird flu at all." The state government said starvation was the cause of the deaths.
Theni is 120 km west of Karur, the poultry centre of Tamil Nadu.