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H5N1 Spread to Murshidabad West Bengal is Likely

Recombinomics Commentary 09:34
January 17, 2008

With reports of poultry birds dying in fresh areas, the West Bengal government has decided to extend culling operations in areas in Murshidabad district rather than wait for a Central notification, Anisur Rahaman, Minister for Animal Resources Development, told The Hindu here on Thursday.

On Thursday more than 3,000 chickens died in Murshidabad. The affected areas are Padam Kandi, Kirtipur, Jaypur, Jhilli and Margram in Khargram block. Surprisingly, several crows also reportedly dropped dead in Berhampore. Sources said more than 25 crows died in Khagra crematorium area in Berampore in the last two days and that samples had been sent for tests.

An official admitted: "We feel Murshidabad deaths may also be due to H5N1.

Fresh cases of mortality have also been reported from the Khargram and Burwan blocks of Murshidabad district, adjoining the affected areas of Birbhum.

The above comments strongly suggest H5N1 has spread into Murshidabad blocks adjacent to Birbhum (see satellite map).  Dead crows were also seen in the Birbhum outbreak.  H5N1 confirmation in Murshidabad would be move the spread closer to Nadia, where there have been thousands of bird deaths.  Nadia’s eastern border is shared with Bandladesh, where h5N1 has recently been confirmed in Jessore, which is less than 50 miles from Nadia.

Updates on H5N1 testing of samples from dead birds along the Bangladesh border would be useful.

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