DHAKA, Oct. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- Bangladeshi government has no preparatory mechanism for stocking anti-viral vaccine as a precaution to tackle avian influenza, while other countries are scrambling for precautions to combat the deadly outbreak of disease, The Daily Star reported Tuesday.
Most of the countries, where the poultry sector is booming, have been scrambling for precautions by making stocks of anti-flu vaccine. Their mad dash for precautionary measures came against a backdrop of recent news that bird flu occurred in Romania and Turkey that killed more than 60 people in Asia since 1997.
Experts fear a flu outbreak in a tropical country like Bangladesh could spell a disaster for the public as well for the poultry sector.
Nonetheless, preparations have been scant thus far. "We are yet to take any steps regarding anti-virus vaccine," Professor Nazrul Islam, virology expert of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University was quoted by the daily as saying.
"This vaccine is very sophisticated and expensive that needs tobe preserved under certain temperature," he said.
To make a stock of the vaccine, the government has to create fund and facilities for preservation, he said.
Experts also caution that Bangladesh should check for infected chicks entering the country to protect the poultry sector, adding that efforts to head off the flu require serious government initiatives.
"It will be impossible to fight the flu if the government is not very sincere and watchful. And we should not import chicks from those places where the disease once broke out," Dr. Monjur Murshid, a leading animal vaccine expert of the country, was quoted as saying.
The government banned the import of chicks from 13 different Southeast Asian countries, including neighboring India, where a low or high pathogenic virus reportedly broke out. Now the poultryfarm owners import grand parent chicks from Europe, which is also now experiencing the flu.
Syed Abu Siddique, Secretary General of the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association, said the government should take the issue more seriously.
"Our whole poultry sector will crumble down if the virus breaksout in our country," he said.
According to the daily, an outbreak would be devastating to theeconomically vibrant and growing poultry sector, whose 100,000 poultry farms employ around 4 million people. Investment in the sector is nearly 50-60 billion taka (about 770-920 million US dollars).