Bird flu outbreak | Central team to visit Kerala on January 7

Officials asked to complete culling, sanitising by January 8.

A Central team will visit Kerala on January 7 to assess the bird flu situation, Animal Husbandry Minister K. Raju said on January 6.

He was speaking at a review meeting at the District Collectorate in Alappuzha.

According to officials, a multidisciplinary team will visit the areas affected by the avian influenza (H5N8) in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts and take stock of the situation.

Meanwhile, culling of birds continued for the second day in the district. Mr. Raju said that 37,656 birds, mostly ducks, had so far been culled in the district. โ€œA total of 61,513 birds died/culled in the district. Surveillance will be strengthened and steps will be taken to prevent the spread of the disease,โ€ Mr. Raju said.

The Minister said birds, including domestic birds, would be culled within a 1-km radius of the infected areas. He directed the officials to complete the culling process and sanitise the areas by Thursday.

Social Forestry officials have been asked to monitor the migratory birds.

Once the culling and sanitation drive was completed, the Animal Husbandry Department would carry out surveillance activities over a radius of up to 10 km from the hotspots for one week, Mr. Raju said.

Regarding the compensation to farmers, the Minister said the amount would be transferred to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

District Animal Husbandry Officer P.K. Santhosh Kumar said the culling operations were nearing completion in the district. โ€œCulling of birds is almost over except in one place at Karuvatta. The process will be completed by Thursday,โ€ he said.

Fresh bird deaths

Meanwhile, sources said that fresh bird deaths had been reported from a few places in the district. โ€œThe cause of deaths has not yet been ascertained. Samples have been sent for testing and results are awaited,โ€ said an official.

The Health Department has also increased surveillance in the district in view of the outbreak.

bird flu has been detected from four places in Kuttanad at Nedumudi, Thakazhi, Pallippad and Karuvatta in Alappuzha district. Earlier, authorities collected samples from six places in the district following the mass death of ducks in December and sent it to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, for analysis. Four samples tested positive for bird flu.

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