Kerala govt orders massive culling of ducks after tests confirm bird-flu
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As avian influenza was confirmed
as the cause of death of nearly 17,000 ducks in the state’s major paddy-growing
Kuttanad region in Central Kerala, the government ordered for massive culling
of the birds and other poultry in affected areas.
According to animal husbandry department, the avian
influenza was confirmed following lab tests at the National Institute of High
Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal. However, the department is yet to get reports
about the sub-type of the virus to ascertain whether it would affect humans.
Kuttanad, spread over three districts, has a duck
population of 6 lakhs. Deaths have been reported from two villages in the
recent weeks. As per the decision, all poultry in one square kilometer from the
affected villages would be culled immediately. Besides, the sale of duck has
been banned in Kuttanad and Ambalapuzha taluks in Alappuzha.
Kerala Agriculture Minister KP Mohanan said preventive
steps would be soon initiated to contain the disease. Veterinary kits would be
distributed in affected areas and farmers would be enlightened about the
threat, he said.
According to World Health Organisation, most avian
influenza viruses do not affect humans. However, some are zoonotic, meaning
that they can infect humans. The most well known example is the avian influenza
subtype H5N1 viruses currently circulating in poultry in parts of Asia and
northeast Africa, which have caused disease and deaths since 1997.
Other avian influenza subtypes, including H7N7 and
H9N2, have also infected people. Some of these infections have been very severe
and some have resulted in deaths, but many infections have been mild or even
subclinical in humans.