The Bangladeshi government has taken strict measures to prevent the spread of bird flu from neighboring India, where the avian flu has reportedly killed a poultry farmer.
"The government in the wake of reported outbreak of the avian flu in our neighboring India has alerted the border guards not to allow entry of any poultry and pet birds into Bangladesh from India," said a spokesman of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock on Monday.
He said the ministry made the decision at a meeting on Sunday chaired by Minister Abdullah-al-Noman, where detailed discussions were held on ways to prevent the avian virus H5N1 in the country.
He said the reported death of a poultry farmer in India's western state of Gujarat and the flu in Maharashtra had promoted the Bangladeshi government to take the preventive measures. The government earlier has banned import of chickens from India, the spokesman said.
"The outbreak of bird flu in India poses a direct threat to Bangladesh as hundreds of chickens and other items are imported from that country. Many items also make their way into Bangladesh illegally," the spokesman said.
He said the government had earlier also banned import of poultry and chickens from some European and Asian countries where low and high pathogenic avian flu virus was found.
The avian flu has so far killed 91 people across the world since 2003 mostly in Southeast Asia. The virus can infect human in close contact with birds.
There was a fear before the approach of the winter, which has almost gone, that Bangladesh might be affected by the bird flu through the guest birds, who visit the country in millions to flee the freezing cold in their home countries.
The guest birds this time found Bangladesh safe home as the government a few months ago took tough stand about hunting of the birds and their sale.
Hundreds of thousands of guest birds are caught in different ways in Bangladesh every year and are sold in urban areas, but this year no guest birds were seen selling in the capital.