INDIA - As festive season is nearing, bad news has struck for Kerala farmers. Avian influenza (bird flu) has hit them hard and state government has decided to cull over 200,000 birds.
This come after Indian agriculture ministry had asked the state government to take necessary steps to contain avian influenza.
"The Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture on receipt of reports about the mortality of the birds (ducks) and the samples having been found positive for Avian Influenza in RT-PCR and Real time RT-PCR for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5 AIV, have asked government of Kerala for immediate precautionary steps/actions for preparedness for control and containment of the disease and to furnish the information," agriculture ministry said in a statement.
Kerala state on its part has issued a red alert in three central district of Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam.
H5 avian influenza was confirmed in samples of dead ducks sent to high security animal disease (HSAD) laboratory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. As many as 17,000 ducks had perished last week at Kuttanad.
The agriculture ministry said that ministry of health and family welfare has also been requested to facilitate the control and containment operations, the statement adds.
The culling will be carried out in one km radius of the infected sites.
As per the report received from the state there are 228,807 birds in one km radius of epicenters indistrict Alappuzha and 13,000 birds in one km radius of epicenter in district Kottayam.
There are 1759123 birds in surveillance zone (two-10 kms area) in district Alappuzha and 240696 birds in surveillance zone of district Kottayam. The mortality till date is 15,500 birds.
A control room has been started by the state on November 23, 2014 in the districts.
There is no further report of any unusual sickness or mortality from any other part of the country, the statement adds.
The state has already started the control and containment operation as per action plan on prevention, control and containment of avian influenza which was revised in 2012.
Kerala state health minister, VS Sivakumar said that all precautions has been taken to eliminate potential threat to human transmission.
It has been learnt that to make quick bucks, farmers have raised over a million ducks for Christmas and New Year and the state government has ban the sales in Kuttanand.
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