Manipur on alert against swine flu

Swine fluImphal, Apr 30 : As the cases related to swine flu are on rise in Mexico and other countries, authorities here are taking preventive steps on the border with Myanmar.

Manipur''s Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department has barred import of live pigs and pork meat through the India-Myanmar border.

"As far as the husbandry services of the state is concerned, we are under alert and at the same time we have taken certain steps to prevent the transit of animals mainly through international border, that is bordering Myanmar in some of the districts," Thoiba Jiban Singh, director, Veterinary and Animal Husbandry.

Although the Central Government has only issued an advisory to all states in the remote northeastern region and not sounded any particular directives, the Manipur State Government has initiated preventive measures against swine fever, as pork is a staple diet in the vast northeastern region.

A 2003 census report had put the swine population in the state to about 400,000.

The recently discovered disease (swine fever) is caused by the H1N1 virus type through the mutation of flu that infects swine, human as well as avian population.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said 114 cases of swine flu, including eight deaths, had been officially reported.

Millions of Mexicans were staying indoors to avoid the virus, and cases were reported in the United States and Canada.

Officials in Mexico say up to 159 people have died there, prompting fears the disease will spread around the world.

The swine flu outbreak has the potential to cause a worldwide pandemic, but it is too early to say, the WHO said.

Indian health officials on Monday announced several steps to screen people coming from abroad as a virus that has killed 159 people in Mexico spread to the United States and may have reached as far as New Zealand. (ANI)