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Fresh bird flu cases reported in Kerala's Kottayam, culling to begin today

 Published on Dec 15, 2021 09:04 AM IST| Written by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

A similar exercise was carried out in Alapuzha district of Kerala when bird flu cases were confirmed last week. Bird flu, also known as Avian Flu, is a variety of influenza caused by an airborne virus in birds.


Kerala has recorded more cases of bird flu, this time in Kottayam district. Three cases were reported in Vechur, Aymanam and Kallara panchayats in the district. The samples were sent to National Institute of High-Security Animal Disease in Bhopal where bird flu was found to be present.


Local authorities said that culling of ducks and other birds will begin on Wednesday to contain the spread of the virus. They added that 25,000 birds will be culled.


This is a fresh confirmation of avian flu in the southern state where ducks and other domesticated birds have been dying over the past few weeks.


The state government sounded an alert in Alapuzha district last week after the state animal husbandry department confirmed bird flu (H5N1) in some samples.


A total of 12,000 ducks were culled in ward number 10 of Thakazhi gram panchayat on Friday. The decision was taken after Alapuzha district collector chaired an emergency meeting and decided to intensify the actions to prevent the bird flu from spreading to other areas.


A total of 140 samples were sent for test and 26 samples tested positive for bird flu.


Endowed with many backwaters and water bodies, farmers rear a duck in a big way in Alapuzha, which results in cases of bird flu regularly. Birds from other countries are reportedly the carriers of the virus. In Alapuzha and neighbouring Kottayam, duck rearing is an important business, and there is high demand for eggs and meat of the water bird, generally priced higher than poultry.


The district administration also banned the use and sale of eggs, meat and manure of ducks, chickens, quails and domestic birds in the affected areas. This restriction will be applicable in Champakulam, Nedumudi, Muttar, Viyapuram, Karuvatta, Thrikkunnapuzha, Thakazhi, Purakkad, Ambalapuzha South, Ambalapuzha North, Edathva panchayats and Harippad Municipality area.


The local police were instructed to support these activities and to conduct surveillance in the area. The department of animal welfare will ensure the service of rapid response teams and bury the birds.


Bird flu, also known as Avian Flu, is a variety of influenza caused by an airborne virus in birds. It can spread to humans in rare conditions, and if it happens, it can trigger a person to person transmission, experts said.