A two-day seminar titled 'Strengthening cross border emergency preparedness and response mechanism for HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza)' was organised in Siliguri here to prepare against the avian flu contagion in high-risk border regions.
It aimed at raising awareness and equipping people with the knowledge to contain a sudden outbreak of endemic avian flu in the border areas identified as 'high risk corridors' by the researchers.
The seminar was organised by Food And Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations Organisation (UNO) in collaboration with Emergency Centre For Trans-Boundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), a unit of South Asian Association Of Regional Corporation (SAARC) and Animal Resource and Development Department (ARD) of the West Bengal Government.
It was emphasized in the seminar that there is no immediate incidence, as far as India is concerned. But uncensored trafficking of birds and poultry makes the border regions highly vulnerable, making them a high priority in the campaign against avian flu.
The participants included Government officials, officers from Army Medical Corps, and members of various self-help groups and owners of small poultry forms in the border areas.
People and owners of small poultries in the villages of the border regions were taught to identify the symptoms of the disease in birds and humans.
Sumana Roy, who had come from Phasidewa village near India-Bangladesh border said, "I have a poultry farm at my house near to the India Bangladesh border, in this seminar I got to know things like how to distinguish an ailing bird with the healthy one, how to contain and prevent the flu by maintaining hygienic conditions."
"We were informed that we run a very high risk if we buy the birds casually, as they be carrying diseases," he added.
The experts believe that the disease can be prevented only by providing information at the grass root level.
Sub Regional Manager of FAO from Katmandu (Nepal), Dr Mohindra Oberoi said, "We are trying to make people aware how they can prevent the disease, because the disease keeps on coming now and again."
"At the moment, India is free from the disease but it is a high-risk season. People must always be prepared. They can be trained to prevent the disease from bird to bird and bird to human, we have tried to do this in the seminar," added Dr. Mohindra. (ANI)