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More than 200,000 birds culled in bird flu scare
By Ashraf Padanna December 02, 2014
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TRIVANDRUM: More than 200,000 ducks were culled in Kerala after the outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza last month.

“The rapid action squads have killed 206,175 ducks so far. Around 50,000 more birds were identified to be culled in the affected areas on Monday,” Animal Husbandry Minister KP Mohanan said on Monday.

The bird flu was confirmed on Nov.24 in the famed backwater getaway destination of Kuttanad spread across three south-central districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta.

“The squads are also destroying eggs and bird feeds in one-kilometre radius of the affected areas as per the WHO protocol.

“The situation is under control now. No fresh outbreak has been reported,” the minister told the Kerala assembly.

They will turn to other birds like chickens after ducks.

Though the squads visited 88,128 households and examined 331,141 people, no case of humans affected by the harmful virus was detected.

All the residents in and around the affected areas were given preventive medicines.

Farmers were asked to kill all birds within the limits and not to make fresh purchases till the region is found to be safe after a month of strict surveillance.

The duck-rearing areas and places where the carcasses are being burnt would be sterilised.

Health Minister VS Shivakumar said six samples were collected from persons with symptoms of avian flu and sent for lab tests but all of them were negative.

Hospitals in Alappuzha are equipped to face the situation if humans were found affected.

Duck deaths were reported from neighbouring districts of Kollam and Ernakulam but none was tested positive for bird flu.

Mohanan said about 130,000 birds were culled in Alappuzha district itself.

The authorities have also paid more than Rs10 million as compensation to the farmers for the ducks killed or died before the outbreak detection.

Each bird more than two months old gets Rs200 while others will get half the amount.

A secretary-level meeting will draft an action plan to prevent the spread of the virus through water bodies.

Separate isolation wards are set up at the hospital of government-owned medical colleges in Kottayam and Alappuzha cities.

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