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After MP and Rajasthan, Bird Flu Scare in Kerala as Ducks Die; Admin Plans to Kill Infected to Stop Spread

Image for representation

Image for representation

According to officials, in the last week of December, many ducks were found dead in both the districts. Out of the eight samples sent for tests in Bhopal, H5N8 report was detected in five samples.

After Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, bird flu has been detected in Kerala's Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. The administration has set up control rooms to monitor the situation.

According to officials, in the last week of December, many ducks were found dead in both the districts. Out of the eight samples sent for tests in Bhopal, H5N8 report was detected in five samples.

Around 1,500 ducks have died in the duck farm in Neendoor. Similarly, bird flu outbreak has been reported from some farms in Kuttanad region of Alappuzha district, sources said.

All birds within one km radius of the infected region will be culled to avoid further infection. Already over 12,000 ducks have died, another 36,000 may be killed to avoid further spreading, officials added. State Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju said in Thiruvananthapuram that the government will compensate farmers whose domestic birds will be culled.

Bird flu occurs naturally in wild waterfowl and can spread to domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.The disease is transmitted via contact with an infected bird's feces, or secretions from its nose, mouth or eye. The last major case of bird flu was reported in the state in 2016.

In Rajasthan, a bird flu alert has been sounded after the presence of the dreaded virus was confirmed in dead crows in Jhalawar and more avian deaths were reported in other districts, including Jaipur. On Sunday, seven crows were found dead at the iconic Jal Mahal, taking the toll to 252 in the state.

The flu was also detected in Madhya Pradesh's Indore where carcasses of 50 crows were found, putting the authorities on alert, a civic health official said on Friday. The authorities have now launched a drive to identify those with suspected flu symptoms in the area.

"Nearly fifty crows were found dead on the campus of Daly College on Tuesday. Some of the carcasses were sent for tests to Bhopal. They were found to be carrying the H5N8 virus," Indore Chief Medical and Health Officer Poornima Gadaria told PTI. A survey is being conducted to trace those with cold, cough and fever in the radius of five kilometers in the plush Residency Area where the college is situated, she said. Suspected patients' swab samples will be tested, she added.

The situation is worrisome in Himachal Pradesh too where the death toll of migratory waterbirds has risen to over 1,800, triggering suspicion of avian influenza. Chief Conservator Wildlife of Pong wetlands -- one of the largest in northern India, Upasna Patyal, told IANS the reason for the deaths is still a mystery. Their carcasses have been sent to different laboratories to determine the cause of death.

"The death of birds could be attributed to bird flu. We are expecting to get results by Tuesday evening. As a protocol, we have imposed prohibitory orders," she said.


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