The reported outbreak of bird flu in parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts in Kerala has prompted the authorities to cull all the birds in the one km radius of the affected areas.

The disease was confirmed in Nedumudi, Thakazhi, Pallippad, Karuvatta in Alappuzha and Neendur in Kottayam and the areas have been put on high alert.

So far, the bird flu cases have been confirmed on ducks, but around 40,000 birds including ducks, chicken and domestic birds have to be culled to control the spread of the disease which is identified as H5N8 virus. This has triggered a fresh public health challenge even as the State is in the thick of fighting the Covid-19 virus.  

Emergency meeting

K Raju, the State Animal Husbandry Minister said that the government will compensate farmers whose domestic birds are to be culled.

Meanwhile, the minister has called for a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) to coordinate steps to contain the outbreak, official sources said.

The situation is reported to be under control even as the authorities are keeping a close watch and sounded a high alert in the nearby districts.

The bird flu was first detected in a duck farm in Neendoor in December 19 where around 1500 ducks died in a farm. However, many farm owners neglected it as they feared that it would dampen the Christmas and New Year sales.

The test conducted by the Microbiology Department in Thrissur found that it was bacterial infection. Later the samples sent for expert testing at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal, where it is confirmed the outbreak of bird flu.

Binny Emmatty, state president of Poultry Farmers and Traders Samithy, said that there is no need to panic as the government has assured that the virus has infected only the ducks.