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India To Claim 'Bird Flu Free' Status

India will lay claim to the 'bird flu free nation' status next month, as no case of avian influenza has been reported in the country for the last three months, federal Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said Friday. //

"There has been no case of avian influenza for the last three months, which makes us eligible for the bird flu free nation status," he told reporters here.

The claim would be made before the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on August 10. The last case of avian influenza (H5N1 virus) in India was reported in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra in West India in May.

Pawar said timely action by both agriculture and health ministries ensured containment of the spread of the disease.

"Lot of preparation went on for one and half years. We were ready when the bird flu outbreak took place," Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said.

"We have successfully controlled bird flu in India", he said and added that India's efforts were appreciated by global monitoring agencies, including WHO.

FAO representative He Changchui said: "India has effectively put in place scientific surveillance mechanism to control bird flu. They have the confidence to claim the bird flu free status".

Pawar also said that Indian Council of Agricultural Research has indigenously developed a bird flu vaccine at its Bhopal-based laboratory which now needs to be commercialised.

"Before commercialisation, we need to do some more trials," Pawar said and added earlier experiments had "quite encouraging results".

Source:PTI News

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