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Bird flu: Culling of Ducks, Chickens begins in Kerala; Tamil Nadu, Karnataka & Jammu on alert

Prity Barman
Prity Barman
Bird Flu
Bird flu

Culling of chickens and ducks has begun to contain the H5N8 strain of bird flu in parts of Kerala on Tuesday, while Jammu and Kashmir also raised an alarm and began collecting samples from migratory birds after confirmed cases of avian influenza from Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.  

Following the outbreak of viral infection in neighboring Kerala, where about 1,700 ducks have died due to the flu, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have stepped up monitoring and formed guidelines.  

In Madhya Pradesh, officials said that 155 dead crows were found with the H5N8 strain in Indore after the pathogen was first identified in the region a week earlier, while birds in Kota and Baran were found with the infection in Rajasthan after Jhalwar. 

So far, 2,700 migratory birds have been found dead in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district. No cases have been registered yet in Maharashtra, which shares borders with Madhya Pradesh.  

In Alappuzha and Kottayam,  the method of culling birds in and around a one-km radius of the affected areas was carried out. 

Rapid management teams, set up by the government, began rules-based culling of ducks, hens and other domestic birds. About 12,000 birds will be culled in the Karuvatta panchayat alone. 

3,000 birds culled in affected areas of Neendoor panchayat in Kottayam district so far. On a farm, about 1,700 ducks had died due to the viral infection. Officials have sounded a high warning in the districts, given the ability of the virus to infect humans. 

The presence of bird flu was first identified in Indore on 29 December, when approximately 50 crows were found dead at the Daly College Residency campus. The deadly avian influenza has not been detected in any other bird species apart from crows. 

'Samples have been sent to a laboratory in Bhopal to search for bird flu from 120 live hens and roosters from the area and 30 migratory birds from Sirpur Lake. The results are due,' Sharma said. The research is being performed in the Residency area to test individuals with symptoms such as cold, cough, and fever, an official of the state health department said, but added that no case of H5N8 infection has been identified in humans. 

Authorities said bird flu cases were reported in neighboring Himachal Pradesh; Jammu and Kashmir sounded an alert and started collecting samples to check the health of winged tourists flocking during the winters to the Union territory. 

Due to the outbreak of bird flu in neighboring Kerala, Tamil Nadu stepped up inter-state border monitoring and announced an emergency plan to handle potential human cases. 

‘Bird flu spreads quickly, and people may be likely to be infected. The Directorate General of Health Services has therefore developed a contingency plan for human case management as a precaution,’ Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said. 

Rapid response teams in Himachal Pradesh have begun collecting samples of poultry from an area 10 km from the edges of Pong Dam Lake.  

By Tuesday morning, 625 birds had died in the state's 16 districts. Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar ordered health officers in border districts in Karnataka to remain alert in the face of outbreaks of avian influenza in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. 

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