India has declared itself an Avian influenza free country as no bird flu case has been reported for over three months, according to a statement by the Health Ministry.

It said the final report in this regard was sent by the Department of Animal Husbandry to Office International des Epizooties (OIE) (World Organization of Animal Health) on Friday.

This was done to claim the disease-free certificate, as under the OIE provisions a country may regain its status as an avian influenza- free country three months after a stamping out policy, the statement said.

On February 18, India notified the OIE of an outbreak in areas of its western states, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Further outbreaks were reported in Maharasthra's north-eastern Jalgaon district with a spillover in the adjoining areas of central Madhya Pradesh.

The last outbreak was detected on April 18 in Jalgaon district, the ministry stated, adding that there has been no further outbreak of Avian Influenza after April 18, 2006.

Following the last outbreak reported, final cleaning up and disinfection process was completed on May 7.

No human cases were reported from India during this time.

The Indian government added that though the country had declared itself free from highly pathogenic avian flu, it will continue to undertake surveillance.

"Considering the global spread of Avian Influenza and the situation in the neighbouring country where it is almost endemic, surveillance will continue in the country as a whole, especially in the outbreak areas, areas of major poultry concentration and those visited by migratory birds," the ministry said.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been more than 230 cases of the bird flu in humans in as many as 10 countries since 2003. More than half of these had been fatal cases.