The mysterious deaths of hundreds of birds in Peshawar and adjacent areas have been cleared of bird flu. Sending hundreds of blood samples to the National Veterinary Research Laboratory, Islamabad for testing the Livestock Disease Investigation chief said that no case of bird flu was detected in the mysteriously dead birds. The deaths of the birds had scared the people of the area following confirmation of bird flu in two districts.
The Livestock Disease Investigation Chief Dr Sher Mohammad told the press that the deaths of these birds around this time of the year were usual. But this year, he said, they were more alarming, as the presence of the bird flu virus had been confirmed in nearby Charsadda district. He also added that, Investigation teams are going all over the province collecting samples of poultry blood from farms to check for bird flu and reduce the people's scare of eating chicken meat.
The federal heath department has registered medicines in its preparations for possible bird flu cases in the country. Two Peshawar based pharmaceutical companies have started manufacturing medicine for bird flu affected humans. The medicines in the form of capsules are being called "Influed". The WHO has also recommended the capsules and called it a successful 'anti-viral medicine' against the bird flu virus. The government has asked people to adopt precautionary measures while eating chicken or working in the poultry farms. They recommend total protective gear while working in the farms and proper cleansing and washing before cooking the birds.
In Sri Lanka too health officials stated that the five migratory birds found dead in the northern territory were not affected by bird flu. The birds were found dead on Wednesday in the eastern town of Mannar, 220 kms north of the capital, Colombo. Sri Lanka has so far not reported any cases of bird flu, but officials have been keeping a close guard on poultry farms and bird sanctuaries after an outbreak in neighbouring India resulted in the slaughter of half a million chickens. Chicken sales in Sri Lanka that had dropped around 20 percent since February are increasing now, according to the Poultry Farmers Association.
Meanwhile in India, various poultry associations around all the states are offering customers with the new 'bumper prizes for chicken buyers' efforts. The associations in Madurai in Tamil Nadu, more than 400 prices, including ornaments, cameras, FM radios, audio systems and even TVs are the prizes on offer. After distributing printed handouts house-to-house around the city, consumers are returning to chicken retail outlets after almost 40 days. The association has even announced that and promised anyone catching the avian flu after consuming chicken would be given Rs 5 lakh. They are confident that there is no bird flu in the state and it is absolutely safe to eat poultry products said the association president R Nallathambi.
The Indian domestic poultry industry has registered a loss of Rs 7,500 crore, say industry insiders, due to panic reaction over the bird flu outbreak.