50,000 Birds To Be Culled In Kerala After Bird Flu Declared As ‘State Disaster’

According to a top official, there’s no cause for alarm and the situation is expected to be brought under control in three days.

After the confirmation of avian flu in the state, culling of nearly 50,000 birds is in progress in two districts of Kerala. According to a top official, there’s no cause for alarm and the situation is expected to be brought under control in three days, the Indian Express reported.

The director of the state’s animal husbandry department Dr KM Dileep said the H5N8 subtype of the Influenza A virus was confirmed in five out of the eight samples sent for testing to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases lab in Bhopal. The flu was reported among ducks in four panchayats in Alappuzha district – Thalavadi, Thakazhy, Pallipad and Karuvatta — and one panchayat in Kottayam district – Neendoor. After ducks began to die on a large scale in farms in these areas in the last week of December, poultry farmers had called animal husbandry officials.

“Rapid response teams have started functioning in five epicentres of the outbreak. Culling of birds within a one-km radius of the farms have begun and we intend to complete the process within three days. Sanitisation of the area will follow. I have just returned from Alappuzha and so far, the flu has not spread to other farms from the ones where it was confirmed. If we can complete the culling process fast, we can quickly contain it,” Dr Dileep said.

“After the culling ends, officials of the health and animal husbandry departments will carry out combined surveillance of a 10-km radius of the affected areas to study any variations. We will check for suspicious deaths of any kind of birds in that period and send samples for examination if required.”

Responding on the possibility of bird-to-human transmission of the virus, he said, “So far, we don’t have any reports of such transmission and there’s no need for alarm.”

He said the source of infection is possibly migratory birds who have flown to the state in large numbers in the last two months.

After the Centre notified the outbreak of H5N8 subset of Influenza A in the two districts, the avian flu outbreak has been classified as a ‘state disaster’.This will help farmers get adequate compensation for the ducks that died of the virus in the initial phase as well as for those which will get culled in the process. State officials are taking a count of the number of ducks to be culled in order to prepare the data for compensation to farmers, according to the Indian Express.


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