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WHO Commends India's Bird Flu Response

The World Health Organization has commended India for the alacrity with which the government machinery responded to the outbreak of bird flu in the country in the last fortnight. //

"WHO has commended our operations (to control bird flu). They have told us the quick response of the Indian government has been highly appreciated," Joint Secretary (Animal Husbandry) Upma Chowdhury informed reporters. "India's actions have added a new dimension to the international response to bird flu outbreaks," the WHO was quoted as saying by Ms Chowdhury. In all, India has culled 395,771 birds after the outbreak was detected in Navapur in the western state of Maharashtra. The government has paid Rs.4 million as compensation to poultry farmers who lost all their assets as a result of this slaughtering operation. However Joint Secretary (Health) Vineet Chowdhury stressed that despite all this not a single case of human bird flu has been detected in the country even though 93,585 people had been tested. Meanwhile, the government has also allocated Rs 60 million for strengthening the testing facilities, "We will be doing this by upgrading three regional disease diagnostic laboratories to relive the pressure on NIV (National Institute of Virology, Pune) and NICD (National Institute of Communicable Diseases, New Delhi)," said Indian Council for Medical Research chief N.K. Ganguly.

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