Govt Admits Possibility of Anthrax in Dhaka
Sunday, 19 September 2010

Despite highsounding reassurances, the government has finally admitted its ignorance about the extent of anthrax infection among cattle in Dhaka.

The admission came when livestock and fisheries minister Abdul Latif Biswas was talking to reporters on Sunday about a government decision to form a 25-strong national coordination committee to combat the spread of anthrax.

Despite lofty guarantees and supposed establishment of cattle check-posts at every entry point to Dhaka Biswas said there were no guarantees that there were no infected cattle in the capital.

In an evident u-turn from his Aug 29 assurance that anthrax infected cattle would be prevented from entering Dhaka at all costs, Biswas said on Sunday that it could be ensured only after the coordination committee started its work.

He had said that it was impossible for infected cattle to enter the capital as 'they will die on their way'.

An anthrax red alert was declared across the country on Sep 5 only six days after he had told the nation not to panic.

Anthrax was first identified in Sirajganj on Aug 19, when at least 26 people including two children showed signs of infection at Chithhulia village under Kayempur of Shahjadpur Upazila.

The government on Aug 29 set up four check posts at the city's entry points, posting one veterinarian for each of them, to prevent ailing cattle from entering Dhaka. reported on Sep 5 that 70 percent of the cattle slaughtered in Dhaka's abattoirs were not tested at all.


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