The Bangladesh High Commission in India has recommended keeping a watch on the bird flu situation there to check the virus transmission in the country.
It has also suggested taking necessary precautionary measures in this regard.
The Bangladesh High Commission, New Delhi has recently sent a report to the commerce ministry along with the recommendations.
The presence of bird flu was detected in 11 Indian states — Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh, according to the report.
“There are reports on the spread of avian influenza in five of the 11 afflicted states where culling and containment measures are on.”
“As a neighbour with large land boundary, Bangladesh should stay vigilant and take precautionary measures regarding the bird flu outbreak in India,” it suggested.
In the wake of the bird flu outbreak, the Delhi government on January 13 imposed a temporary ban on sale and storage of poultry or processed chicken meat by shops and restaurants with immediate effect, it added.
In January, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) asked the agencies concerned to ban the import of any poultry item into the country, referring to an intelligent report.
Besides, the fisheries and livestock ministry requested the commerce ministry to ban the import of such item.
To this end, an inter-ministerial meeting decided not to impose any immediate ban on the import of poultry products to prevent the possible spread of bird flu in the country, officials said.
Rather it decided to strengthen surveillance so that bird flu cannot spread to local farms through imports of poultry products, they added.
The secretaries of commerce and fisheries and livestock, representatives from the home ministry, land port authority, Department of Livestock Services and other state agencies attended the meeting.
As part of preventive measures, the meeting decided to ensure adequate supply of rapid test kits and personal protective equipment to identify such disease at the initial stage to help protect the local poultry sector from any possible outbreak of the flu.
It also decided to set up adequate checkpoints on the roads and highways to make sure of spraying disinfectants on the vehicles carrying poultry products and distribute leaflets to create public awareness in this regard.
The meeting also stressed the need for strengthening avian influenza vaccination across the country through incentivising the private poultry farmers, meeting sources said, adding that 100 per cent vaccination should be ensured in cases of day-old chicks at the hatchery level.
They said the meeting also took the decision to ensure vaccination for the golden variety of poultry on a pilot basis.
Earlier, the commerce ministry sought opinions from Department of Livestock Services about the possibility to ban the import of poultry items from neighbouring countries, including India.
DLS had recommended a set of measures, including strong vigilance and other precautions, to contain the bird flu contamination.
In the second week of January, the livestock ministry in a letter asked DLS to take all possible steps to contain the bird flu.
DLS had also been asked to take precautionary measures in all districts, including frontier ones, through intensive supervision of both public and private farms.
The ministry advised the department to collect and test quickly in the nearest lab if any dead or suspicious fowl or bird is found.
Besides, the ministry asked it to ensure the supply of adequate test kits and protective gear at district and upazila veterinary hospitals and laboratories.
For ensuring bio-safety of farms, it ordered to launch a widespread campaign to warn farmers and verify the existing stock of vaccines for flu prevention.
Sector insiders said Bangladesh currently imports a very negligible amount of poultry items from India.
In border areas, some people are involved in smuggling poultry items like day-old chicks which, the businesses fear, might cause the spread of flu in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh mainly imports parent stock and grandparent stock from European countries, they mentioned.