Centre forms committee to monitor bird flu situation

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) The central government on Wednesday constituted a committee to maintain constant vigil on the situation arising out of bird flu, an official statement said.

All 45 samples received from the Delhi government by the Bhopal-based forensic lab have been tested within the stipulated 72-hour time frame and 13 cases have tested positive for H5N8, the statement added.

On Tuesday, Delhi Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai urged the central government to direct the authorities concerned at the Bhopal lab to expedite the process of sending reports.

He said that 85 samples collected from various locations have been sent to the central lab in Bhopal, but results of only 27 samples have arrived.

The statement said that the committee to keep a check on bird flu situation will be headed by Joint Commissioner of Animal Husbandry Department and will have representatives from the Health Ministry, Environment Ministry and the Forest Ministry, apart from representatives of the Delhi government.

“Besides monitoring the situation, the committee will assist the state government in taking steps to contain the spread of avian influenza (H5N8),” the statement said.

“All bird sanctuaries and areas where there are lakes have been advised to keep a close watch on the situation and in case of any suspicious death of birds, the state government and the Centre should be notified,” it added.