Pestilence watch: Bird flu outbreak reported in India, 2800 dead pigs found floating in Chinese river
March 11, 2013
INDIA – More than 2,000 chickens were culled and a large quantity of eggs destroyed in Bihar’s Purnea district in the last 24 hours following an outbreak of avian flu, officials said Monday. Purnea District Magistrate Manish Verma said bird flu was detected last week. “More birds would be culled as a precautionary step. The administration had issued bird flu alert as a preventive measure. We are fully prepared to deal with an outbreak,” the district magistrate said. An official of the animal husbandry department said the state government had also alerted neighboring districts of Kishanganj, Katihar and Araria, and asked concerned officials to take emergency measures in view of the bird flu outbreak in Purnea. Verma told IANS over telephone that kits, medicines and other material have been distributed to all medical centers for treatment of any patient suspected to be affected by bird flu. “Till date, no case has been reported in the district,” Verma said. The district magistrate said 15 teams of officials have been formed to check the spread of bird flu and ensure that birds and eggs from the district were not sent outside Purnea. Purnea is about 350 km from the state capital. “All entries along the border of the district have been sealed and additional officials have been deployed to prevent traders from sending birds outside,” an official said. Purnea is a major supplier of chicken across Bihar; fowl and eggs from the district also find their way to markets in neighboring West Bengal. –One India
Disease risks in China? – A surge in the dumping of dead pigs upstream from Shanghai – with more than 2,800 carcasses floating into the financial hub through Monday – has followed a police campaign to curb the illicit trade in sick pig parts. Authorities have been pulling out the swollen and rotting pigs, some with their internal organs visible, since Friday – and revolting images of the carcasses in news reports and online blogs have raised public ire against local officials. “Well, since there supposedly is no problem in drinking this water, please forward this message, if you agree, to ask Shanghai’s party secretary, mayor and water authority leaders if they will be the first ones to drink this meat soup?” lawyer Gan Yuanchun said on his verified microblog. On Monday, Shanghai officials said the number of dumped adult and piglet carcasses retrieved had reached 2,813. The city government, citing monitoring authorities, said the drinking water quality has not been affected. Shanghai’s Agriculture Committee said authorities don’t know what caused the pigs to die, but that they have detected a sometimes-fatal pig disease in at least one of the carcasses. The disease is associated with the porcine circovirus, which is widespread in pigs but doesn’t affect humans or other livestock. Shanghai’s city government said initial investigations had found the dead pigs had come from Jiaxing city in neighboring Zhejiang province. It said it had not found any major epidemic. Huang Beibei, a lifetime resident of Shanghai, was the first to expose the problem when he took photos of the carcasses and uploaded them onto his microblog on Thursday. “This is the water we are drinking,” Huang wrote. “What is the government doing to address this?” Huang said he’s most concerned about water safety. “Though the government says the water is safe, at least I do not believe it – given the number of the pigs in the river. These pigs have died from disease,” Huang said.