The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi has a familiar disease

Bhopal, Feb. 18: Rapid dissemination of information ' that’s the cornerstone of the fight against any contagion, but not if Delhi can help it.

The High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal, the only one in Asia equipped to deal with bird flu, developed cold feet for a few hours this evening after confirming that the deadly virus has arrived in India.

“Yes, it is bird flu,” an official confirmed in the afternoon. Hours later, however, he was less sure: “It was a preliminary report and we need to confirm it.”

The official had been taking calls from across the country. However, sources in Delhi said a few calls from the capital made the officials of the lab clam up.

The sources said some decision-makers in Delhi were upset with the laboratory for creating a “scare”. They feared that businesses such as poultry, tourism and aviation would be hit and conveyed their displeasure to the lab.

By night, however, an official at the lab again confirmed that some samples had tested positive. “But there is no need to panic,” he added.

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