Bird flu declared state-specific disaster in Kerala after several ducks die, high alert sounded; Details

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bird flu alert in keralaIn Alappuzha, the flu had been reported among the ducks of four panchayats. (Image: IE)Bird flu in Kerala: The government of Kerala has declared bird flu a ‘state-specific disaster’, and has also issued a high alert regarding it, according to news agency ANI. The development has come after the flu outbreak took place in parts of the Alappuzha and Kottayam districts of the southern state. Meanwhile, a report in IE stated that as many as 50,000 birds are being culled in the two districts to contain the situation. The report also quoted a top official as saying that if they act swiftly enough, the situation can be controlled in three days.

State animal husbandry department director Dr KM Dileep was cited by the report as saying that the Influenza A virus subtype H5N8 was confirmed in five samples of the eight that were sent to the Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases laboratory.

In Alappuzha, the flu had been reported among the ducks of four panchayats, while one panchayat in Kottayam reported the flu among ducks. Animal husbandry officials were called when poultry farmers found ducks to be dying on an alarming scale in the last week of 2020.

Dr Dileep said that at the five outbreak epicentres – Karuvatta, Pallipad, Thalavadi and Thakazhy panchayats in Alappuzha and Neendoor in Kottayam – the rapid response teams have begun their work, and are culling birds within a one-kilometer radius of these farms. The team hopes to complete the culling process within the next three days, after which the sanitisation of the areas would be undertaken. As of now, Dr Dileep said, the flu has not spread to farms other than where it was found to be confirmed, and therefore, swift action would help in containing the spread of the virus.

After the culmination of the culling process, health and animal husbandry departments officials would survey the 10-kilometre radius of the affected areas, and look for any suspicious deaths that might have taken place among the birds.

Moreover, he said that as of now, there are no reports of bird-to-human transmission of the flu, and he assured that there was no need to be alarmed.

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