Bird flu scare

Assam government on January 8 imposed an indefinite ban on entry of poultry from outside the Northeast region as a precautionary measure in view of the outbreak of avian flu (bird flu) in the country.

The Centre has asked the states that are still unaffected by avian flu to keep a vigil on any unusual mortality among birds and to report immediately so that necessary measures are taken in the fastest possible time. So far, the disease has been confirmed from six state – Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat.

“In view of the outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in some parts of the states of the country which is a highly contagious avian disease having zoonotic potential of causing huge loss in terms of mortality and trade of poultry, governor of Assam is pleased to impose temporary ban on entry of poultry as a precautionary measure through western border of the states in the interest of prevailing escalation of the disease to Assam and other Northeast states,” read an order issued by the state’s animal husbandry and veterinary department.

The order said that advisories have been already issued to the concerned authorities for strengthening the active and targeted surveillance against the disease.

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The order comes into force with immediate effect and will remain in force until further orders, it further stated.

No cases of bird flu in Assam

Assam imports chicken on a large scale from other parts of the country, especially eastern India but officials said there will not be a shortage of the chicken due to the large-scale local production and storage.

“The imports of poultry into the state are usually done from West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, among others. The poultry enters through the western border of the state — Dhubri and Kokrajhar districts – which connects the Northeast with the other parts of the country. So, we have decided to ban it temporarily as bird flu infected poultry should not be allowed to come to the state,” Ashok Kumar Barman, director at the state veterinary department told mediapersons.

Barman said there will be no shortage of chicken as only 10-12 trucks of birds come from eastern India and the state has enough local production to meet the consumption.

He also said there is no need to panic as well the state has not reported any confirmed case of the bird flu.

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