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Kerala bird flu under control, says Chandy
BY ASHRAF PADANNA November 27, 2014
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TRIVANDRUM: The bird flu epidemic that killed around 20,000 ducks in recent days in the southern state of Kerala is now under control, officials said on Wednesday.

Authorities have distributed preventive medicines and protective gears to people handling the diseased birds as they started culling tens of thousands of them in the affected areas spread areas in three central Kerala districts.

“We have held elaborate meetings of the villagers in all the three districts and there’s a high alert in the region. It’s limited to some villages and not spread widely,” Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said a meeting of his cabinet that reviewed the situation.

Officials are strictly following the protocol set by the World Health Organisation for containing bird flu.

Transporting of ducks and chicken, including meat and eggs, within the districts and across the borders are banned.

A team of experts from the federal animal husbandry department that visited the region expressed satisfaction over the measures taken to contain the spread of the “highly pathogenic” H5 avian influenza virus.

“We have enough stock of medicines for up to 10 days and more medicines and protective gears are on the way from New Delhi,” the chief minister said, dismissing immediate possibility of transmitting the virus to humans.

Official estimates say 470,614 birds in these areas are susceptible and around 150,000 would be immediately culled.

All domestic birds in the affected areas will be slaughtered and burnt en masse, though there was no confirmed case of bird flu other than in ducks so far.

The “rapid action teams” that began culling in the badly hit Purakkad village of Alappuzha and Aymanam village in Kottayam, are expected to move into other villages in two days.

“There is no panic situation in the state. The government has taken all precautionary measures to check the spread of bird flu,” Chandy said.

Health Minister VS Sivakumar said no human casualty from bird bird flu was reported anywhere in India in recent past.

There was no confirmation yet that it was more harmful subtype H5N1.

“No virus affecting humans has been detected so far. But people should be cautious while handling fowls,” he said.

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