Avian Influenza in West Bengal
MEA in favour of US aid to combat bird flu

Source: The Sangai Express / Courtesy TIMESNOW

Imphal, January 31: The Indian Government has decided to seek US help in containing the outbreak of Bird Flu with the Ministry of External Affairs 'accepting' US Amabassador David Mulford's offer to help which means US expertise will now be put into use in Left-controlled West Bengal which has been worst hit by the dreaded Avian Influenza.

Highly places sources have told TIMESNOW that the MEA has asked the Health Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry to work on a request for help.

A detailed list of requirements is being readied by the two ministries to ensure that India is not on the brink of combatting an epidemic or worse, human infections by the H5N1 strain.

The Agricultural Ministry, sources say is considering looking at a vaccine for birds that is manufactured by an American firm.

A long term mitigation strategy may also be in the offing, as also a request for TamiFlu vaccines to ensure that humans are not affected.

The Left-ruled West Bengal will be the first to get aid from the United States when the request comes through, since Buddha's Bengal has been the worst hit by the outbreak.

What started as an isolated outbreak just over 10 days ago has now brought the State down to its knees.

The Avian flu was first reported in Bengal's Birbhum district on January 15 and has now spread to 13 out of 19 districts.

Most alarmingly Bird Flu is now at Kolkata's doorstep with chicken deaths here being reported from Budge Budge village just 40 kilometres away from the State capital.