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USAID launches campaign against H1N1 virus
Published on 5 Aug. 2009 1:39 AM IST
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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched campaign in eastern India, especially in the states bordering Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan, to prevent the spread of H1N1 virus and other pandemic forms of influenza. The USAID has launched initiative for sensitising the masses and all other stakeholders, including media, besides backyard poultry farmers and other vulnerable communities, on both avian influenza and H1N1. According to UNI report, the USAID has implemented the project in 13 bordering districts of Northeast, including Sonamura of Tripura, on a pilot basis. Meanwhile, in collaboration with US Consul General and American Centre in Kolkata, they organised a two-day workshop for media last week with experts from the US to propagate the campaign, USAID country coordinator Suneel Muttoo said. Referring to US Consul General in Kolkata Beth A Payne, Muttoo said the US had sanctioned USD 7.5 million for the campaign against the global menace in India. The USAID had been working closely with the UNICEF and local governments of the bordering states in eastern India to implement the strategies. Muttoo pointed out that there was misconception about H1N1 virus, commonly named swine flu, which had already taken its toll in India along with other 73 countries across the globe. ‘’H1N1 (Swine flu) is considered as a pandemic flu that can spread to humans and swine can carry the virus, but consumption of properly cooked (at 70 degrees Celsius) pork prevents the spread of the disease,’’ Muttoo underlined. He also pointed out that spread of H1N1 virus was apparent to all but H5N1 (avian flu) had the potential to turn into a pandemic in humans. Referring to the statement of the Director, American Center, Kolkata, Douglas G Kelly, he stated that as India shared a long and porous border with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar, the chances of cross border influenza transmission was high and as a result, educating the potential stakeholders, including poultry farmers, had become the mission of the USAID.

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