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Sealing Calcutta

Recombinomics Commentary 08:54
January 24, 2008

As bird flu spread across two more districts, the state government moved in to seal Kolkata to produce from the affected areas.

The state’s Animal Resources Development Department, which made the request for sealing, will provide officials to man the checkposts with the police. The police are also to seal the affected areas so no poultry products move out either. 

The above comments indicate Calcutta will soon be sealed from affected areas, which will likely soon be all of West Bengal (see satellite map).  The number of confirmed locations is significantly lagging the spread of H5N1.  Excess poultry deaths in Calcutta suburbs have been noted for several days, and these areas have not joined the official list of confirmed districts because birds have not been tested or the results have not been released.

The reports of dead wild birds in the region suggest checkpoints will not keep H5N1 out of Calcutta and media reports suggest H5N1 is already in Calcutta.

Although the government has denied human cases, most of the cases with fever are simply being monitored.  There have been over 2000 cases reported in Birbhum alone.

Collection of throat swabs for influenza testing would be useful, as would expanded testing of excessive poultry deaths and fever patients.

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