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    High alert in Orissa after bird flu hits Assam

    Bhubaneswar (IANS): Orissa government has directed all officials to be on alert and take measures to prevent an outbreak of bird flu in the state after the disease hit areas in Assam, officials said Monday.

    "The fishery and animal husbandry resource development department has alerted all its officials across the state", director of the department Bishnupada Sethi told IANS.

    "No flu has been detected in our state. But still we are taking all precautions" he said.

    Millions of migratory birds from places as far as Siberia and Iraq flock every year to Orissa during winter and the government has deployed special teams to spot sick birds, Sethi said.

    At least 750,000 migratory birds have come to Chilika Lake - India's largest brackish water lagoon, about 100 km from Bhubaneswar, since October.

    "We spotted seven to eight sick birds during past one month and treated them", the chief executive of the Chilika Development Authority, Dr Sudarsan Panda told IANS.

    None of the birds were, however, found carrying the strains of the deadly H5N1 avian influenza.

    Thousands of migratory birds have also flocked to Bhitarkanika sanctuary in Kendrapara district, some 170 km from here, but forest officials say all the birds they found are well enough and none of them have signs of sickness.


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