No bird flu scare in UP, says government

There is no bird flu scare in Uttar Pradesh and the state government was taking all precautionary measures in this regard, a top official said on Tuesday.

Lucknow: There is no bird flu scare in Uttar Pradesh and the state government was taking all precautionary measures in this regard, a top official said on Tuesday.

"There is no Bird Flu scare in Uttar Pradesh. All the necessary precautionary measures were taken in seven villages of Amethi, where it has been contained and 833 birds including hens, pigeons were culled and their cages disinfected", Director, Horticulture, Dr Rudra Pratap told PTI.

The government is also ensuring surveillance and adoption of scientific measures in those areas of Amethi where the birds were culled yesterday to contain the spread of the flu, if any, he said.

Dismissing the reports of the H5N1 virus spreading in Barabanki district as "false information", Pratap said, "there is no report of bird flu spread from anywhere in the state."

"As per the policies of state government for encouragement of poultry and its products, import of eggs and other items worth crores was stopped from other states. This might be the reason for such false information," he said.

Embattled with swine flu, Uttar Pradesh government had on March 15 sounded bird flu alert following the outbreak of avian influenza in Amethi.

Chief Secretary Alok Rajan has directed all divisional commissioners and district magistrates to initiate preventive measures in their areas to minimise possible adverse effects of bird flu.

This followed a warning by an expert team that confirmed a "highly pathogenic avian influenza" outbreak in Amethi, where 350 birds, chicken and ducks died of a mystery disease on March 6 and 7 in the villages of Chandgarh and Sare Ka Purwa in Bazaar Shukul block of the district.

"District Magistrates (DMs) should form a joint team comprising representatives of health, animal husbandry, panchyati raj and urban planning departments so that an action plan for containing the disease could be rolled out," the alert said.

Meanwhile, the Dudhwa National Park in Lakhimpur Kheri has been put on high alert following the influenza outbreak in Amethi.

"Even though no case of avian influenza or bird flu has been reported in Terai district of Kheri or in Dudhwa tiger reserve so far, we are taking no chance owing to the arrival of migratory birds here," Deputy Field Director Vinod Krishna Singh told PTI.

The field officials have been instructed to report any case of bird death in the park, he said.

Districts along Nepal and Bihar borders have been asked to furnish a daily report of action taken to curb avian influenza.

A similar alert has been sounded in south and north Kheri forest divisions of the district which has an abundance of wetlands where migratory birds flock in every year.

Noted conservationist and convener of Terai Nature Conservation Society Dr Vijay Prakash Singh, who is assisting the administration in bird flu awareness, said Kheri, which shares its boundaries with Nepal where temperature is low, is vulnerable to the spread of H5N1 virus commonly known as bird flu or avian influenza.

The outbreak of bird flu cases has occurred at a time when the state is battling with swine flu, which is raging in 36 districts and has so far claimed 17 lives.

Of the total 2785, the maximum number of 923 H1N1 cases have been reported from the state capital of Lucknow till yesterday.

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