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Bird flu panic abates in Meghalaya



Shillong, February 11 (IANS): Authorities on Saturday gave the all-clear signal and calmed the panic in Meghalaya after clinical tests on dead pigeons proved negative for bird flu, a veterinary official said Saturday. "The blood samples of the pigeons which were sent for testing at Assam-based Regional Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (RRDL) have confirmed negative for bird flu," said Meghalaya's Animal and Husbandry Veterinary director D Lyngwa.
On Friday, veterinary authorities sent blood samples of three pigeons after over a hundred pigeons were found dead at Keating Road in the heart of Shillong. "Further tests would take place to confirm the exact cause of deaths of the pigeons, with results due next week," Lyngwa told a news agency.
The deaths of pigeons surfaced after 19 days, when a rapid response team completed disinfection operations in bird flu-hit area of East Garo Hills district.
Altogether, 6,538 birds including domesticated fowls were culled, 9,157 eggs and more than 800 kg of feeds were destroyed in 21 villages in East Garo Hills, after the Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory declared the birds were infected with H5N1 virus. "There is nothing to panic and people can consume poultry products and chicken in the city," Lyngwa said.

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