Monday, February 21, 2011

Birdflu outbreak in Agartala due to virulent H5 strain


The birdflu outbreak in Agartala in Tripura has been confirmed to be the highly virulent H5 strain which if transmitted to humans can be deadly. The samples from Government Duck Farm, RK Nagar, Agartala, were sent to High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL), Bhopal and a government laboratory  in Kolkata for testing. The tests confirmed that the samples are positive for H5 strain of Avian Influenza, a senior Health Ministry official said.
According to experts, the H5 strain of bird flu is a highly virulent one and people's immune systems do not yet have any ability to recognise it, leaving humans extremely vulnerable to it.
Luckily, H5N1 is not adapted to human hosts and does not have the genes that would allow it to be passed easily from person to person. But evolution may change that.
The H5 and N1 represent forms of viral proteins that human bodies use to recognise and attack the virus. Some flu strains, such as H1N1, are relatively common in humans and many people's immune systems can recognise and attack these strains.
At least 3,000 poultry, including chickens and ducks, have been culled in Tripura to control further spread of birdflu from a government duck farm in Agartala.
The administration has also banned sale of any poultry in and around R K Nagar farm, six kms from the capital town.
Avian Influenza was first reported from Kamalpur, a sub-division in Dhalai district bordering Moulavi Bazar district of neighbouring Bangladesh in April 2008.
The Centre has stepped in to combat the problem and directed the state to cull the entire poultry within a radius of three km of the focus of infection.
The state government has been asked to furnish a daily report on the control and containment operations to the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture.
The Centre has advised the state to ban movement of poultry and its products in the infected area, close poultry and egg markets and shops within a radius of 10 kms from the infected site, ban movement of farm personnel, restrict access to wild and stray birds and restrict access to the infected premises.
On compensation for loss of poultry on account of culling and destruction of birds, the Union government has told the state that it would be shared between the two on a 50:50 basis.


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