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H1N1 Flu Alert Hits Pork Traders in Kendrapada

by 5m Editor
10 August 2009, at 11:32am

ORISSA, INDIA - Paradeep port authorities have sounded a swine flu alert and heightened monitoring of ships coming from abroad.

"Medical teams have been pressed into service to check crew members of foreign ships. The foreign sailors are allowed to enter the port only after obtaining health clearance certificates from the medical team," deputy conservator (Paradeep port) Goura Prasad Biswal said.

The alert, however, has dealt a blow to the business of pig farm owners and pork suppliers in the coastal districts of Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur. "We used to supply pork to many ships docking at Paradeep port, but the alert has put a stop to all that. Even traders in Kolkata, who were our regular customers, are now finicky about buying pork from us. The situation has left us in dire straits," Madan Sethi, a pig farm owner in Kendrapada's Rajnagar area, said.

A farm owner at Mahakalapada, Bauri Das, echoed Mr Sethi. "Pig farming is a profitable business but the spectre of swine flu has dashed all my hopes to make a profit this year. I have got 35 pigs ready for sale but my customers have refused to buy pork. It's been a month now since I have been running a huge loss," Das said.

Veterinary officials in Kendrapada also have stepped up vigil against a possible outbreak of the deadly disease, which has so far claimed four lives in the country. "Our teams are going around pig farms in the district to collect blood and stool samples of the animals. We forward the samples to the Animal Disease Research Institute in Bhubaneswar," chief district veterinary officer (Kendrapada) G Sar said.

"Some pig farm owners in Rajnagar and Mahakalapada areas have been supplying pork to the port town of Paradeep, Kolkata and other places. Many residents of these areas also eat pork and therefore we are taking extra precautions to check the sale of sick pigs," Sar said.

According to The Times of India, the veterinary officer said his department has decided to launch an awareness drive among Kela tribals in the district. "These people rear pigs and it's therefore imperative for them to detect sick pigs," he said. "Many pig owners never take any proper care of pigs. We found a person had adjoining pig and poultry farms. We have advised him to segregate the two," he added.