Implications of Suspected Avian Flu in Kerala

INDIA - Karnataka is on high alert following outbreak of bird flu (avian influenza) in the neighbouring Kerala.
calendar icon 26 November 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

The Times of India reported that the death of 7,000 ducks reportedly due to the disease at Kottayam in Kerala has prompted the government to take precautionary measures. Check posts are being established at border districts to monitor and sterilise vehicles carrying chicken and egg to Kerala.

Animal husbandry minister T.B. Jayachandra, who held a meeting to review the state's preparedness to tackle the issue, said: "There is no need to panic. The situation in the state is normal and the possibility of the outbreak of the disease is remote. But, as a precaution, we are taking all possible measures."

The state has an estimated poultry population of 53.4 million. The eight bird sanctuaries and nine water bodies and 12 wetlands flocked by migratory birds in the state are also under scanner.

Minister Jayachandra said there will be surveillance in Mysore, Madikeri and Chamarajanagar districts and more number of samples will be sent for testing. Personal protection kits, masks, serum tubes and other equipment have been kept ready and 8,505 personnel, including 1,555 veterinarians, have been trained to deal with the issue.

S.M. Byre Gowda, the director of the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals is the nodal officer.

The Hindu reported that the outbreak of avian flu in three districts of Kerala and the State government’s decision to cull hundreds of thousands of poultry is likely to have an adverse impact on Tamil Nadu.

After the Bhopal-based National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases confirmed that avian influenza, known as bird flu or avian flu, had caused the death of 17,000 ducks in Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts, the Tamil Nadu government is likely to ban ducks and duck eggs from Kerala.

Highly placed sources in the Tamil Nadu Health Department told The Hindu on 25 November that heightened surveillance would be in place in Coimbatore from 26 November as the district is a major transit point for the bulk of the trade.

Primary Health Centres and government hospitals along the border would be put on alert. These are precautionary measures as it is rare for the virus to spread from birds to humans, a health official here said.

The outbreak is expected to impact the poultry sector in Tamil Nadu. Kerala is almost self-sufficient in broiler production, and broiler sales from Tamil Nadu to that State has reduced.

Tamil Nadu produces 7.5 million broilers a week and just 10 per cent of them are sold in Kerala.

With the confirmation of the outbreak of avian flu, consumption of broiler will come down in Kerala, and it will be felt by the poultry farmers here.

Further Reading

You can visit the Avian Flu page by clicking here.

Charlotte Rowney

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