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Panel to suggest steps to check bird flu

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JAN. 31. With the Union Government banning poultry import in the wake of bird flu cases in Pakistan and South-East Asian countries, the State Government also seems to be gearing up to meet the challenge.

The Government will shortly form a committee to chart a course of action to prevent the entry and spread of avian influenza virus here, according to sources.

They told The Hindu that the committee, which would be chaired by Muniappa, Professor of Microbiology at the Veterinary College here, would have officials from the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services and experts in the field. Raju Premakumar, Secretary, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department, said the State Government had received a directive from the Union Government to check poultry farms in the State and take steps to prevent the spread of avian influenza here.

The Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services would shortly send Deputy Directors of the department to poultry farms here to review the situation and based on their reports, he would decide on the next course of action, he added.

Meanwhile, the Bangalore Airport authorities have said that they have not received any communication yet from the authorities in Delhi to screen people coming from countries where cases of bird flu have been reported. "We have officially not started screening passengers for bird flu, but we are on alert. Anyone complaining of fever, cough, cold, and other symptoms similar to those of avian influenza will be medically examined," an airport official has said.

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