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India Earmarks Rs.1.34 Bn to Fight Bird Flu

India Thursday allocated Rs.1.34 billion to prepare, control and contain bird flu for three years starting March 2007.//

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the funding to implement the 'Preparedness, Control and Containment of Avian Influenza (AI)' scheme.

The scheme includes activities like pre-outbreak preparedness, planning and coordination, supporting an outbreak containment plan and setting up of a bird flu cell in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, according to an official release.

The committee said the initiative would prepare the country to face an AI pandemic, reduce morbidity, mortality and social disruption and minimise the threat both to animals and humans.

Besides, it would generate awareness and help procure emergency supplies of equipments and vaccines.

The committee said the World Bank would reimburse Rs.1.26 billion of the investment to the government.

The deadly H1N5 virus strain of bird flu was detected in parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in February 2006, but the situation was brought under control as authorities culled tens of thousands of chicken.

The disease, however, continues to spread in many parts of the world.


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