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India May not Face Bird Flu Outbreak

October 16, 2005: India may have escaped from the Bird Flu epidemic that is causing chaos in Turkey and Romania currently. It is known that migratory birds are carrying the viral strain H5N1//.

The migratory bird ‘Bar-headed geese’ usually migrate to India in winter and were affected by the deadly virus strain H5N1 that can kill human beings. So far the strain has killed 60 people due to the direct contact with affected and sick birds. This year the wild bird from China has decided to fly some other route and spare India from its destination.

“It looks as if India has escaped an outbreak this year because the migratory birds that visit India from China each year have gone to Turkey, Kazakhstan and Thailand. But the fear is very real and it’s just a matter of time,” said Dr Ranjit Roy Chaudhury of the National institute of Immunology.

Luckily the drug that works against the bird flu is called ‘Oseltamivir’ and is sold under the brandname ‘Tamiflu’ is available in India and is marketed by Roche pharma.

The question till recently was when was India likely to come into the ravage of Bird Flu and India went on high alert when thousands of migratory birds died of H5N1, the viral strain responsible for the current problem in the Qinghai lakeland in north-western China.

“Animal-to-human transmission cases are isolated and possible to isolate and treat. We have started stockpiling for such emergencies and are exploring the possibility of developing vaccines in India. In case of an epidemic, compulsory licensing is always an option, but it’s not needed now,” said Health minister Raadoss.

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