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Indians Continue To Eat
Bird Flu Killed Chickens
From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello Jeff - "Villagers in eastern India are continuing to eat chickens killed by bird flu."
This says it all. I would ascertain that bird flu will infect humans in eastern India at an alarming rate. This is how the bird flu virus will eventually mutate.
Again, we have IGNORANCE on the part of rural villagers. Ignorance is going to be the vehicle that spreads and drives the bird flu engine right into our own backyard from these countries. It is sickening an infuriating.
Henry mentioned the situation last Thursday on his update on our program about so many backyard flocks and people hiding birds, even in their own homes.
The pandemic clock is ticking and we are almost out of time.
India: (West Bengal), Bangladesh
Date: Mon 21 Jan 2008
Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Villagers in eastern India are continuing to eat chickens killed by bird flu and there are signs the virus may be spreading among poultry, an official said.
West Bengal animal resources minister Anisur Rahman told AFP the situation in the affected areas was "horrible," and that more suspect cases had been reported on the state's borders with Nepal and Bangladesh. "The ignorance of villagers is one of the main hurdles. They are carrying the dead chickens without any protective gear," he said. "Most villagers are not aware of the disease. They are eating the dead chickens. Their children are playing with the infected chickens in the courtyards. It's horrible," Rahman added.
So far, 6 districts in West Bengal state have reported outbreaks of avian flu among poultry. People typically catch the disease by coming into direct contact with infected poultry, but experts fear the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus may mutate into a form easily transmissible between humans.
Rahman said there were fears it could be spreading further afield in the state, with suspect poultry spotted in the hill resort of Darjeeling on the border with Nepal, and in several villages in Cooch Behar bordering Bangladesh, which is also fighting a bird flu outbreak. "Blood samples of the dead poultry have been sent for tests. We are awaiting the report," he said. The epicentre of the outbreak is Margram village, 240 km (150 miles) from the state capital Kolkata. Rahman said authorities had so far killed 200 000 chickens and ducks, and were planning to cull 500 000 more in the next 3 to 4 days.
The outbreak is the 3rd in India -- home to 1.1 billion people -- since 2006 but it has not had any human cases, although it is the worst so far because it is more widespread, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Some 30 million rupees (USD 770 000) has been set aside to compensate poultry owners -- although farmers are reportedly opposing the slaughter of their birds because they want the cash immediately.
Bangladesh, meanwhile, reported another outbreak of [avian flu] near the border with India -- taking the number of affected districts to 26 out of 64. Bangladesh government spokesman Salahuddin Khan said nearly 5000 chickens have been destroyed around a farm in the northern district of Natore. Authorities have slaughtered at least 355 000 chickens, ducks, and pigeons since the 1st outbreak of the disease in February last year [2007].
But experts have said some outbreaks may not have been reported, as farmers preferred to cover them up, fearing they might not be able to sell their birds in the market.
Migratory birds have been largely blamed for the global spread of the disease, which has killed more than 200 people worldwide since 2003.
-- communicated by:
India: (West Bengal)
Date: Mon 21 Jan 2008
Source: Philstar.com, Associated Press report
Health workers struggled on Monday [21 Jan 2008] to contain India's worst outbreak of bird flu as more than 500 000 backyard chickens in the country's east awaited slaughter, an official said. Bird flu has been confirmed in 6 districts of West Bengal state, said Anisur Rahman, the state's animal husbandry minister. Some 100 000 poultry have died of bird flu, and officials have slaughtered some 150 000 of 700 000 birds scheduled to be killed as a precautionary measure, Rahman said.
Authorities were awaiting test results to determine whether it was the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu, which has been blamed for the deaths of at least 218 people worldwide since 2003, according to WHO.
Officials were having trouble containing the outbreak because it has largely struck poultry living in tens of thousands of homes rather than at farms, Rahman said.
communicated by ProMED-mail
The extensive spread of H5N1 in India, reportedly involving very large
number of small backyard holdings, is bad news, from the perspectives both
of disease control and of potential infection in humans. The Indian
authorities will have to make soon a decision between continuing the
stamping-out policy and the possible implementation of mass vaccinations.
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD
Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics 
Univ of West Indies 
Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: 
Also my new website:
Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa 
Go with God and in Good Health 

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