DHAKA, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- The Bangladesh caretaker government has initiated a massive house-to-house surveillance to prevent the spread of bird flu in the country, local newspapers reported Tuesday.
Dr Mohammed Salehuddin Ahmed, director of the Livestock Department said that massive surveillance was on across the country. "Each of around 150,000 poultry farms of the country is under active surveillance," he said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has closed its border with India and the border guards, paramilitary force Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and officials concerned have been asked to check the smuggling in of any poultry from India.
"Here the cases are sporadic," he said, adding that due to the massive surveillance on the disease, the situation was still under control.
The government said on Sunday that the bird flu situation worsened, with 29 out of the country's 64 districts so far confirmed detection of the virus. As much 350,000 birds including chickens, fowls and pigeons had been culled.
In January alone, there were 25 outbreaks, making the month the worst since the bird flu was first detected in a poultry farm near the capital Dhaka in March 2007.
The administrations of the affected districts have been told to use loud-speakers and do other campaigns to warn the people about the danger of the bird flu.
Farmers were told to report to the livestock officials as soon as they have livestock's' death in their farms. People in Dhaka were told not to buy poultry birds from street vendors.
"We are doing it to raise the awareness of the people about the danger that bird flu poses to public health," said director general of Livestock Department Sunil Chandra Ghosh.
"There is nothing to be panicked. But we must have to raise the awareness about the deadly disease. If the flu mutates and then contact human, it will be a catastrophe," he said.
According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, as many as five million people are employed in Bangladesh's poultry sector, one of the world's largest.
The farmers, most of them small, annually produce about 220 million chickens and 37 million ducks annually.