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  • India - Human Respiratory Track Infections

    Dispur sounds health alert

    - Assam lacks wherewithal to treat humans affected by avian flu, admits minister


    Dec. 11: Dispur today sounded a grim warning over the probable spread of avian influenza to humans, saying the state was not equipped to handle such a health scenario.

    The alert came in the wake of 82 cases of upper respiratory track infections in humans that were reported from six districts affected by bird flu. However, it was not yet confirmed whether these were bird flu-related cases.

    An infection in the upper respiratory track is one of the symptoms of the disease in humans.

    “If human beings are affected it would be a bigger disaster than floods or blasts,” health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told mediapersons here today.

    He said that the health department could only handle 100 to 200 cases if the disease were to be transmitted to humans.

    “Central teams under the regional director for health and family welfare are monitoring the situation in areas where the outbreak of the disease has been reported,” the minister said.

    “The people are taking the matter very lightly without realising the consequences. There are allegations of chicken and ducks being kept away from culling.”

    The minister urged the people to co-operate with veterinary officials as a precaution.

    Sarma said culling operations were on in full swing with over three lakh poultry lined up for the purpose within the next few days. He said the figures were likely to go up after the outbreak in Dibrugarh and Chirang yesterday.

    Barpeta, Kamrup (rural), Kamrup (metro) and Nalbari have already been affected by the flu.

    Close to 2.5 lakh poultry has been culled so far. The ban on sale and movement of poultry and poultry-related products from affected areas has been imposed.

    Culling operations will begin in Dibrugarh town tomorrow morning, two days after a case of avian flu was detected there.

    Dibrugarh deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri said all necessary arrangements had been completed for the operations and rapid response teams were ready to carry out the drive.

    The focal point in Dibrugarh town from where the bird flu case was detected as positive is ward number 6 under Dibrugarh Municipal Board. The 3km radius would cover the entire township, including Dibrugarh University and its adjoining areas.

    The positive case was detected after poultry retailer Biswajeet Das from the Chiring Chapori area reported to the local veterinary department officials that around 120 of his birds had died all of a sudden on November 6.

    “We had collected the samples of the dead birds and sent them for tests to the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Thereafter, we received a report from the laboratory confirming the case as positive”, a veterinary department official said.

    To compound matters, shortage of trained veterinary staff slowed down the culling of birds at Khanapara in the capital city which began this morning after the bird flu outbreak was confirmed at a government-run chicken rearing farm there yesterday.

    “We have engaged five culling teams overnight after bird flu was confirmed at Khanapara. The areas within 3km of the epicentre has been declared as alert zone or high risk zone where culling will be carried out,” a government official supervising the operations said.

    The alert zone in the city comprises Jawahar Nagar, Beltola, Six Mile, Rukminigaon, Dispur, Ganeshguri, parts of Hatigaon and Panjabari, among others.

    The official admitted that their efforts had been impeded by shortage of trained staff for culling in the city as most of them were engaged in similar operations in other affected areas of the state.

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/108121...y_10240174.jsp
    “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
    Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

    ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

  • #2
    India - 150 Human Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

    Respiratory tract infection cases coming in
    </B>
    Staff reporter
    GUWAHATI, Dec 11 – “The State Health Department is not fully equipped to meet a situation if the bird flu transmits to humans in a full-fledged manner. If it turns to be a disaster, we don’t have the facilities to face it,” said Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a press conference here this morning.

    “Once the disease transmits to humans in a full-fledged manner, then there will be a major disaster,” he warned and made an appeal to the poultry farmers not to take the phenomenon casually, expressing concern over the indifference shown to it by some farmers. The poultry farmers should cooperate with the Veterinary Department in tackling the situation, he urged.

    Apprising the newspersons that reports of cases of upper respiratory tract infections (URI) have started coming, the Minister said it was a matter of concern. The URI cases have come to the knowledge of the authorities due to the surveillance undertaken by the ASHA and Health Department workers.

    However, the Minister said, Central Government teams of doctors comprising physician, epidemiologist, microbiologists and public health experts, under the Regional Director of Health and Family Welfare, are stationed in the affected areas of Hajo, Rani and Rampur Development Blocks in Kamrup District and affected areas of Barpeta and Nalbari Districts. Teams for other affected areas are being readied. The situation is being monitored on a daily basis, he said.

    Isolation facilities have been strengthened to admit and treat suspected cases and 10,000 capsules of Tamiflu, 6,000 surgical masks, 600 personal protective equipment, 200 N-95 masks and two ventilators have been supplied to the State by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, while additional logistics are also being mobilised, said the Minister.

    The communication materials developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the UNICEF in Assamese for both the print and electronic media have been sipplied to the State Government, he said.

    Giving details of the URI cases found so far in the State, the Minister said that in the Hajo Development Block of Kamrup District, a human population of 23,473 in the 0-3 km radius area around the affected area, spreading over 25 villages, is under active surveillance. Of which, a population of 21,412 was covered under surveillance on December 10. In the 3-10 km radius area, out of 1,08,416 people, 32,929 have been covered.

    Four cases of URI with fever were reported from the area, but no case of influenza like illness with history of contact with infected poultry has been detected in them. Moreover, five cases of URI have been identified in the out patient department of the identified hospital, but none of them has any history of exposure to sick or dead poultry, said the Minister.

    In the Rampur Development Block of the district, a population of 39,830 has been covered in the 0-3 km radius area by active surveillance. A total of 30 cases of URI and fever have been detected. None of these has, however, a history of exposure to infected poultry. In the 3-10 km radius area, of the affected area of the block, active surveillance has covered a population of 18,916, he said.

    While conducting the passive surveillance in the health facilities, 14 cases of URI and fever have been detected and none of them has any history of exposure to infected poultry, said the Minister.

    In the Azara Development Block of Kamrup District, out of a total population 8,572 in 24 villages in the 0-3 km radius, a population of 7,222 has been covered. In the 3-10 km radius area around the affected part of the block, a population of 5,608 has been covered by the surveillance programme, the Minister said.

    Two cases of fever and URI are identified in the 0-3 km radius area around the affected part of the block. In the 3-10 km radius area, six cases of fever with URI and fever have been identified. But none of them has any history of exposure to sick or dead birds. The identified hospitals of the block, have reported a total of 23 fever and URI cases. But none of them has any history of exposure to infected poultry.

    In Barpeta District, out of the total population of 33,934 in the 0-3 km radius area from the affected area, a population of 6,032 have been surveyed and the surveillance in the 3-10 km radius area from the affected area is being initiated. So far, 60 cases of fever with URI have been detected in the 0-3 km radius area. None of them has, however, any history of exposure to the infected birds, the Minister said.

    In Nalbari district, the surveillance programme has covered a population of 7,761, out of the total population of 34,627 in the 0-3 km radius area. One case of fever with URI has been detected in the 0-3 km radius area. However, the patient has no history of exposure to diseased birds, said the Minister.
    http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/...d=dec1208/at07

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: India - Human

      Commentary

      http://www.recombinomics.com/News/12...arpeta_60.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: India - Human

        Commentary

        Sixty URI Patients In Barpeta India Raise H5N1 Concerns
        Recombinomics Commentary 22:44
        December 11, 2008

        In Barpeta District, out of the total population of 33,934 in the 0-3 km radius area from the affected area, a population of 6,032 have been surveyed

        So far, 60 cases of fever with URI have been detected in the 0-3 km radius area.

        The above comments describe excessive upper respiratory infections with fever in the Barpeta district (see satellite map). Assam is setting up monitoring patients in the 0-3 km radius and 3-10 km radius around various epicenters of H5N1 infection. The update gives the number of people residing in the area, as well as how many have been surveyed.

        The Barpeta district has 33,934 people, but only 6,032 were surveyed and 60 patients with symptoms were identified. In contrast, similar numbers for the target population were given for Nalbari
        (7,761/34,627), but only 1 patient with symptoms was identified. The smaller Azara block in the Kamrup district had 7,222 surveyed, and only 2 patients had symptoms.

        Thus, the frequency of patients with symptoms is 30-60 fold higher in Barpeta than Azara or Nalbari, respectively.

        These types of numbers are raising concerns that the region is not equipped to handle these patients, especially since less than 1/5 of the at risk population in Barpeta has been surveyed and Barpeta was one of the earliest outbreaks.

        These numbers of symptomatic patients are cause for concern.


        .
        "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: India - Human

          <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=4 width="100&#37;"><TBODY><TR><TD class=articleheader>Dispur sounds health alert
          - Assam lacks wherewithal to treat humans affected by avian flu, admits minister
          </TD></TR><TR><TD class=articleauthor>OUR BUREAU</TD></TR><TR><TD class=story align=left><TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=2 width=172 align=left><TBODY><TR><TD> </TD></TR><TR><TD class=articleauthor align=left>Members of a rapid response team conduct culling operations at Khanapara in Guwahati on Thursday. Picture by Eastern Projections </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
          Dec. 11: Dispur today sounded a grim warning over the probable spread of avian influenza to humans, saying the state was not equipped to handle such a health scenario.

          The alert came in the wake of 82 cases of upper respiratory track infections in humans that were reported from six districts affected by bird flu. However, it was not yet confirmed whether these were bird flu-related cases.
          An infection in the upper respiratory track is one of the symptoms of the disease in humans.
          “If human beings are affected it would be a bigger disaster than floods or blasts,” health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told mediapersons here today.
          He said that the health department could only handle 100 to 200 cases if the disease were to be transmitted to humans.


          </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
          Last edited by AlaskaDenise; February 21st, 2009, 04:56 PM. Reason: remove photo

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

            Commentary

            http://www.recombinomics.com/News/12..._Alert_82.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

              Commentary

              82 Assam India Patients Produce H5N1 Health Alert
              Recombinomics Commentary 00:34
              December 12, 2008

              Dispur today sounded a grim warning over the probable spread of avian influenza to humans, saying the state was not equipped to handle such a health scenario.

              The alert came in the wake of 82 cases of upper respiratory track infections in humans that were reported from six districts affected by bird flu. However, it was not yet confirmed whether these were bird flu-related cases.

              An infection in the upper respiratory track is one of the symptoms of the disease in humans.

              “If human beings are affected it would be a bigger disaster than floods or blasts,” health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told mediapersons here today.

              He said that the health department could only handle 100 to 200 cases if the disease were to be transmitted to humans.


              The above comments are part of a health alert issued by Dispur in Assam, India. Sixty of the 82 cases described above are in Barpeta (see updated map), where the rate of infection is 30-60 fold greater than other affected areas. However, the higher rate may be due to the proximity of Barpeta to the initial outbreak, so cases in other regions may be lagging. Moreover, the number of cases in Barpeta may be significantly higher, because only 20% of the at risk population has been surveyed.

              The H5N1 in Assam has spread rapidly to nine districts (see map), and so far only six have been confirmed, but those that have no been confirmed are adjacent to confirmed areas, and the confirmed outbreaks stretch from the northwest in Chirang in the northwest to Dibrugarh in the northeast in spite of culling 200,00 birds. In Diburgarh alone, 40,000 birds are expected to be culled by Saturday.

              In addition, there are confirmed outbreaks in neighboring Bangaldesh, and suspected outbreaks in neighboring West Bengal.

              However, the large number of symptomatic patients is alarming, and more information on tests of throat swabs would be useful. Last season most cases were not tested because they did not develop pneumonia and recovered.


              .
              "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

                Bird flu could spread to humans in Assam, warns health minister




                Guwahati, Dec 11: The Assam health department Thursday expressed serious fears about strains of the deadly bird flu virus spreading to humans and sparking a pandemic in the northeastern state.

                "We are really worried about the bird flu virus spreading to humans as the strains transmit rapidly. We don't know for sure if at all our health department would be able to cope if such a thing happens," Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists.

                "We want the people of Assam to cooperate with the veterinary department so that the culling operations are carried out properly. Otherwise, we might face a disaster," he said.

                The bird flu virus has spread across six Assam districts and authorities have claimed it has assumed an epidemic proportion.

                More than 250,000 poultry birds have been culled in the past two weeks in Assam.

                "Bird flu has struck six of the 27 districts in Assam so far with an estimated 150,000 more poultry ordered to be killed," a senior veterinary official said.

                The districts hit by bird flu are Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Barpeta, and Chirang.

                The poultry targeted includes ducks and chickens. Authorities have imposed a ban on sale of poultry and poultry products in most parts of Assam after the bird flu outbreak.

                Culling is being carried out in 200 villages in the six Assam districts. About 400 Rapid Response Teams, each comprising about seven personnel, including a veterinarian, are engaged in the culling drive, which is expected to continue for about a week to 10 days until the entire area is cleaned of the estimated 150,000 poultry left, the official said.

                "It is a matter of worry with the virus now spreading to new areas and hence a maximum health alert was sounded with teams of doctors and paramedics taking precautionary measures so that humans are not affected," Parthajyoti Gogoi, central health ministry official, said.

                The Indian health ministry confirmed outbreak of bird flu after laboratory tests found strains of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza.

                Assam's veterinary and animal husbandry department has sounded an alert and is maintaining strict surveillance on farms in the state with veterinarians carrying out checks on all poultry. A central health ministry team is also assisting the local authorities in the culling operations.

                The World Health Organization fears that the H5N1 strain could mutate into a form easily transmitted between humans and spark a deadly pandemic.
                --- IANShttp://www.newkerala.com/topstory-fullnews-59228.html
                CSI:WORLD http://swineflumagazine.blogspot.com/

                treyfish2004@yahoo.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

                  300,000 people in bird flu-hit Assam under surveillance


                  Guwahati (IANS): Health authorities in Assam have placed under surveillance about 300,000 people in bird flu affected areas with reports of some 150 people suffering from fever and upper respiratory infections, fuelling fears of the deadly virus spreading to humans, officials said Friday.

                  "Isolation facilities have been strengthened to admit and treat suspect cases although no cases of influenza like illness with history of contact with infected poultry have been detected so far," Parthajyoti Gogoi, regional director (northeast) of the central health and family welfare department, told IANS.

                  "About 150 people were treated for fever and upper respiratory tract infections in bird flu hit areas. We have put the patients in isolation, although the symptoms do not indicate influenza like illness," he added.

                  The bird flu virus has spread across six Assam districts, with authorities claiming it has assumed an epidemic proportion. More than 250,000 poultry has been culled in the past two weeks in Assam and an estimated 150,000 more are ordered to be killed.

                  Health authorities have sounded a general alert fearing strains of the deadly bird flu virus spreading to humans and sparking a pandemic in the state.

                  "We are really worried about the bird flu virus spreading to humans as the strains transmit rapidly. We don't know for sure if our health department would be able to cope if such a thing happens," said Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

                  "We want the people of Assam to cooperate with the veterinary department so that the culling operations are carried out properly. Otherwise, we might face a disaster," he added.

                  The districts hit by bird flu are Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Barpeta and Chirang.

                  The poultry targeted includes ducks and chickens.

                  Authorities have imposed a ban on sale of poultry and poultry products in most parts of Assam after the bird flu outbreak.
                  "Additional logistics are being mobilised and we are monitoring the situation of a daily basis," Gogoi said.

                  http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus...0812121021.htm<!-- story ends -->
                  "The next major advancement in the health of American people will be determined by what the individual is willing to do for himself"-- John Knowles, Former President of the Rockefeller Foundation

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

                    About 2003 three new districts were created in Assam by partially carving up existing districts in northwestern <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Assam</st1:place></st1:country-region>. These three districts are Chirang, Baksa, and Udalguri. These district along with Kokrajhar are part of Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District that is spread along the north bank of the Brahmaputra river to the foothills of <st1:country-region w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Bhutan</st1:place></st1:country-region> and Arunachal Pradesh. The approximate location of these districts is shown on the map below by the green boxes.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodoland\<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p>
                    <o:p></o:p>
                    http://www.bodoland.net/<o:p></o:p>
                    <o:p></o:p>
                    http://www.bodoland.org/history.htm<o:p></o:p>
                    <o:p></o:p>
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_districts_of_Assam

                    Click image for larger version

Name:	India Baksa  Assam 20081211.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	147.5 KB
ID:	649281

                    <o:p></o:p>
                    http://novel-infectious-diseases.blogspot.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

                      Based on post #8, there are two separate areas in Assam State in northeastern India where there is concern for human cases of H5N1. These areas are depicted on the map below.
                      Attached Files
                      http://novel-infectious-diseases.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: India: Assam, AVIAN INFLUENZA A/H5N1 IN POULTRY (December 2008+)

                        Source: http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus...0812121021.htm

                        300,000 people in bird flu-hit Assam under surveillance

                        Guwahati (IANS): Health authorities in Assam have placed under surveillance about 300,000 people in bird flu affected areas with reports of some 150 people suffering from fever and upper respiratory infections, fuelling fears of the deadly virus spreading to humans, officials said Friday.

                        "Isolation facilities have been strengthened to admit and treat suspect cases although no cases of influenza like illness with history of contact with infected poultry have been detected so far," Parthajyoti Gogoi, regional director (northeast) of the central health and family welfare department, told IANS.

                        "About 150 people were treated for fever and upper respiratory tract infections in bird flu hit areas. We have put the patients in isolation, although the symptoms do not indicate influenza like illness," he added.


                        The bird flu virus has spread across six Assam districts, with authorities claiming it has assumed an epidemic proportion. More than 250,000 poultry has been culled in the past two weeks in Assam and an estimated 150,000 more are ordered to be killed.

                        Health authorities have sounded a general alert fearing strains of the deadly bird flu virus spreading to humans and sparking a pandemic in the state.

                        "We are really worried about the bird flu virus spreading to humans as the strains transmit rapidly. We don't know for sure if our health department would be able to cope if such a thing happens," said Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

                        "We want the people of Assam to cooperate with the veterinary department so that the culling operations are carried out properly. Otherwise, we might face a disaster," he added.

                        The districts hit by bird flu are Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Barpeta and Chirang.

                        The poultry targeted includes ducks and chickens. Authorities have imposed a ban on sale of poultry and poultry products in most parts of Assam after the bird flu outbreak.

                        "Additional logistics are being mobilised and we are monitoring the situation of a daily basis," Gogoi said.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

                          Bird Flu could spread to humans in Assam,
                          Indo-Asian News Service
                          Guwahati, Dec. 11: The Assam health department today expressed serious fears about strains of the deadly Bird Flu virus spreading to humans and sparking a pandemic in the northeastern state.
                          "We are really worried about the Bird Flu virus spreading to humans as the strains transmit rapidly. We don't know for sure if at all our health department would be able to cope if such a thing happens," Assam health minister Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists.
                          "We want the people of Assam to cooperate with the veterinary department so that the culling operations are carried out properly. Otherwise, we might face a disaster," he said.
                          The Bird Flu virus has spread across six Assam districts and authorities have claimed it has assumed an epidemic proportion.
                          More than 250,000 poultry birds have been culled in the past two weeks in Assam.
                          "Bird Flu has struck six of the 27 districts in Assam so far with an estimated 150,000 more poultry ordered to be killed," a senior veterinary official said.
                          The districts hit by bird flu are Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Barpeta, and Chirang.
                          http://www.thestatesman.net/page.new...ss=1&id=235346

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

                            Fears of human bird flu cases rise in India's Assam

                            12 Dec 2008

                            Source: Reuters


                            By Biswajyoti Das

                            GUWAHATI, India, Dec 12 (Reuters) - India is sending bird flu experts to the northeastern state of Assam and setting up isolation units to treat up to 90 people showing signs of the virus, health authorities said on Friday.

                            Health workers have yet to confirm any human cases of H5N1, but they said some patients were suffering from fever and respiratory infections, which are symptoms of the virus in humans.

                            Veterinary officials in Assam state, which is rich in tea and oil, have slaughtered more than 250,000 chickens and ducks in the past two weeks, after the virus was detected in poultry last month in a village close to Guwahati, the region's main city.

                            New Delhi has rushed federal medical experts, including epidemiologists and microbiologists, to the affected areas.

                            "We have set up isolation facilities to treat those patients," Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam's health minister, said.

                            "So far none of the patients has a history of contact with infected poultry, but we are taking no chances. If the disease is transmitted to humans it will be a big disaster," Sarma said.

                            The medical teams brought supplies of equipment as a preventative measure in case the virus spreads to humans, including 10,000 Tamiflu capsules, 6,000 surgical masks and two ventilators.

                            Experts suspect the disease was carried by migratory birds who are immune to the virus.

                            Officials said poultry owners took advantage of a shortage of trained health workers and hid their stock to evade culling and seizure, further complicating the situation.

                            Another 150,000 chickens and ducks will be culled over the next two days, said a senior veterinary official in the state capital Dispur who did not want to be named.

                            While no human cases have been reported in India, experts fear the H5N1 virus might mutate or combine with the highly contagious seasonal influenza virus and spark a pandemic that could kill millions of people.

                            Since the virus resurfaced in Asia in 2003, it has killed more than 200 people in a dozen countries, the World Health Organisation says.

                            -------------------------------------------

                            http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/DEL397954.htm
                            “Addressing chronic disease is an issue of human rights – that must be our call to arms"
                            Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief The Lancet

                            ~~~~ Twitter:@GertvanderHoek ~~~ GertvanderHoek@gmail.com ~~~

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: India - 82 Cases of Upper Respiratory Track Infections in Assam

                              3 lakh people in bird flu-hit Assam under watch
                              Assam have placed under surveillance about three lakh people in bird flu hit areas with reports of some 150 people suffering from initial symptoms

                              Published on 12/12/2008 12:56:27 PM


                              Guwahati: Health authorities in Assam have placed under surveillance about three lakh people in bird flu affected areas with reports of some 150 people suffering from fever and upper respiratory infections, fuelling fears of the deadly virus spreading to humans.

                              "Isolation facilities have been strengthened to admit and treat suspect cases although no cases of influenza like illness with history of contact with infected poultry have been detected so far," central Health and Family Welfare Department Regional Director (northeast) Parthajyoti Gogoi said.

                              "About 150 people were treated for fever and upper respiratory tract infections in bird flu hit areas. We have put the patients in isolation, although the symptoms do not indicate influenza like illness," he added.

                              The bird flu virus has spread across six Assam districts, with authorities claiming it has assumed an epidemic proportion. More than 2.5 lakh poultry has been culled in the past two weeks in Assam and an estimated 1.5 lakh more are ordered to be killed, reports IANS.

                              Health authorities have sounded a general alert fearing strains of the deadly bird flu virus spreading to humans and sparking a pandemic in the state.

                              "We are really worried about the bird flu virus spreading to humans as the strains transmit rapidly. We don't know for sure if our health department would be able to cope if such a thing happens," Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

                              "We want the people of Assam to cooperate with the veterinary department so that the culling operations are carried out properly. Otherwise, we might face a disaster," he added.

                              The districts hit by bird flu are Kamrup (Metro), Kamrup (Rural), Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Barpeta and Chirang.

                              The poultry targeted includes ducks and chickens. Authorities have imposed a ban on sale of poultry and poultry products in most parts of Assam after the bird flu outbreak.

                              "Additional logistics are being mobilised and we are monitoring the situation of a daily basis," Gogoi said.

                              http://www.igovernment.in/site/3-lak...m-under-watch/

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