Bird flu: Maha govt to set up bio safety laboratory

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Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) The Maharashtra government will provide funds for setting up a bio-safety level-3 laboratory to ensure quick testing for bird flu, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Monday and sought to allay concerns over consumption of poultry products in the areas where no such cases are reported.

The chief minister also directed officials to provide accurate information to the people so that rumours and misinformation about bird flu situation do not spread.

'There is no need to panic since the disease does not transmit among humans,' Thackeray, who held a review meeting on the bird flu situation in the state this evening, is quoted as saying in an official statement.

The meeting, which was held at the CM's official residence in Mumbai, was attended by Animal Husbandry Minister Sunil Kedar and senior officials.

Thackeray also instructed all the district collectors, via video conferencing, about the measures to be taken to contain the spread of bird flu after he reviewed the situation in the state.

He also said that funds will be made available to the animal husbandry department to set up a bio safety level-3 laboratory for fast diagnosis of bird flu.

'In areas where there are no bird flu cases, there will be no threat if eggs and chickens are consumed after cooking at temperature above 70 degrees Celsius.

'Misinformation and rumours should not be spread about it,' the chief minister said, according to the statement.

Animal Husbandry Commissioner Sachindra Pratap Singh told the meeting that 843 hens from Parbhani have tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza virus.

Samples of 15 different types of birds from Thane and 9 crows in Ratnagiri too tested positive for the H5N1 avian influenza virus. Eleven crows from Beed also tested positive for H5N8 influenza virus, the official said.

According to the Bhopal-based ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), two crows from Mumbai had also died due to bird flu.

The state government has also issued bird flu related guidelines to all the regional officers.

Earlier in the day, Animal Husbandry minister Sunil Kedar told reporters that around 80,000 hens will be culled in Parbhani following the outbreak of the disease.

'We will have to cull around 80,000 hens in Parbhani.

We had asked the district collector there to cordon off the area where the hens were found infected. No bird should go out from the area concerned. If need be, the people working there should also not venture out until everything is examined medically. The people from outside too should not enter the areas concerned,' Kedar said. PTI ENM NSK NSK