A red alert has been sounded following the detection of bird flu across Purnia district. The step was a follow-up to the advisory from Union health ministry which has confirmed the detection of bird flu in Purnia district. A communication to this effect was delivered here on Friday.
Promptly swinging into action, Purnia DM Manish Kumar Verma has ordered the sealing of the borders of the district and putting a ban on the movement of trucks and other modes of transport carrying chicken across the district. The ban applies to sale of chicken and eggs.
Sixteen checkposts have been created for the purpose of effectively curbing the movement of trucks and other modes of transport. The checkposts have been set up at different places including Kaftanpara bridge, Ranipatra, Bellary Chowk, Zero Mile at Gulabbagh, Maranga bypass, Rajni Chowk, Polytechnic Chowk, Hope Hospital Chowk, Janata Chowk, Madhubani, Katihar Mor, Harda Bridge and Banbhag Chowk, according to district officials.
In view of the emergency, the DM has ordered that government employees will not be allowed leave and has cancelled the leave of those who are already enjoying leave.
Civil Surgeon (CS) Dr R C Mandal said as many as 15 teams of doctors have been constituted to tackle with the situation. The teams would go from door-to-door and collect chicken, dump them into sacks and ditches before destroying them, he said. To begin with, the exercise will be first taken in areas lying within one km of the affected zone, health officials disclosed.
The Sadar Hospital, Purnia, has stockpiled Tamiflu and Olmeseltavir tablets as well for tackling the bird flu, the CS said. There has been no casualty so far, he added.
Three blocks in the district have been declared high-risk zones after bird flu H5N1 type was detected in a hatchery at Maranga on the outskirts of Purnia town, official sources said.
Meanwhile, a bird flu specialist, Dr D Biswas, has also reached Purnia. "All preventive measures are already in place," claimed Civil SDO Rajkumar, adding there was nothing to panic about.Dr. Biswas is correct, but The Times of India is enjoying a melodramatic thrill about it. It was the same during an outbreak a few years ago in West Bengal, when the local media feasted on reports of villagers hiding their birds and culling teams being attacked.
Despite repeated outbreaks of B2B H5N1, India has never had a human case. When such cases do turn up, India's media will swoon in delight.