Bird flu outbreak in two Kerala districts

An outbreak of bird flu has been reported from some parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts, prompting authorities to order culling of ducks, hens and other domestic birds in and around a one km radius of the affected areas.

Tests conducted at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal have confirmed the bird flu outbreak, officials said.

The bird flu was reported from four panchayats–Nedumudi, Thakazhy, Pallippad and Karuvatta–in Kuttanad region of Alappuzha district and from a duck farm in Neendoor panchayat in Kottayam district.

Around 1,700 ducks have died in the farm due to the virus infection.

Officials said around 40,000 domestic birds, including 34,000 in Kuttanad region alone, will be culled to check the spread of the H5N8 virus.

The culling operations will on Tuesday by rapid response teams, constituted by the district authorities

Although the situation has been brought under control, authorities have sounded a high alert in districts,considering the potential of the virus to infect humans, sources said.

The Alappuzha District Collector has banned the use and trade of meat, eggs and waste of domestic birds, including ducks and chicken in Kuttanad and Karthikappalli Taluks.

Government authorities said necessary steps have been taken to control the spread of the virus and there was no need for any concern.

The government said migratory birds visiting the 10 km radius of the affected areas would be monitored by the state forest department.

Earlier, a high-level meeting chaired by State Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju assessed the situation and decided to open control rooms at Alappuzha and Kottayam districts.

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Bird flu occurs naturally in wild waterfowl and can spread to domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.

The disease is transmitted via contact with an infected bird’s feces, or secretions from its nose, mouth or eye.

The last major case of bird flu in Kerala was reported in 2016.

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