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Kerala issues bird flu alert

Special Correspondent
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Truck-loads of poultry from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka turned back at border check posts

The Government Turkey Farm at Kureepuzha in Kollam.— Photo: C. Suresh Kumar
The Government Turkey Farm at Kureepuzha in Kollam.— Photo: C. Suresh Kumar

Kerala’s Animal Husbandry Department on Tuesday issued a red alert in the State following the outbreak of avian influenza (bird flu) at the Hesaraghatta Farm of the Central Poultry Development Organisation (CPDO) in Karnataka.

AHD Director K.G. Suma told The Hindu that a ban on the entry of all poultry products had come into force. The order had been communicated to all the 18 border check posts.

The entry of chicken, eggs, poultry manure and other poultry products stood banned.

The period of the ban was expected to be decided at a high-level meeting convened by Minister for Animal Husbandry K.P. Mohanan and Minister for Health V.S. Sivakumar.

Following the order, hundreds of truck-loads of chicken and eggs from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were denied entry.

The government also banned the entry of visitors to the nine regional poultry farms of the AHD at Malampuzha, Chengannur, Mundayad (Kannur), Kolani (Idukki), Kodapanamkunnu (Thiruvananthapuram), Koovapadi (Ernakulam), Chathamangalam (Kozhikode), Manarkkad (Palakkad) and Athavanad (Malappuram), as well as the turkey farm at Kollam and the duck farm at Niranom. There is no ban on the sale of poultry from the farms.

The parent stock for the turkey farm was procured from Hesaraghatta prior to 2010. Authorities of the turkey farm said they had examined the birds and found them to be disease-free.

Private poultry farms in the State have been told to ban visitors and insist on masks and gloves for employees.

The Commissioner of Food Safety ordered inspections at border check posts, farms and meat shops. A circular directed district-level officers to seek police help to carry out raids, and submit daily status reports.

Namakkal upset

Staff Reporter writes from Namakkal, Tamil Nadu: Facing loss of business, the poultry hub of Namakkal was upset on Tuesday after trucks with eggs and other poultry products heading for Kerala returned.

“We are recovering from the heavy loss incurred due to feed price escalation and this ban by Kerala has come as a blow,” president of the Tamil Nadu Poultry Farmers Association R. Nallathambi said.

Industry sources said Kerala was the second largest market for Namakkal eggs, next only to Tamil Nadu.

Over 19,000 chickens culled

Bangalore Staff Reporter reports:

As many as 19,154 chickens were culled on Tuesday at the CPDO at Hesaraghatta, near Bangalore.

This follows the decision on Monday to cull over 33,000 birds housed at the CPDO after the H5N1, which was noticed in turkeys last week, spread to chicken resulting in the death of over 200 chickens. The government has decided to cull all the birds within the one kilometre radius of the CPDO.

On October 25, the Union government notified the outbreak after the institute reported the death of about 3,600 turkeys. In the last one week, over 250 samples have been sent to the Institute of Animal Health and Veterinary Biologicals in Bangalore and the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory in Bhopal. So far, no unusual death of birds has been noticed in the surveillance zone (areas falling within 10 km radius of the CPDO) or in any part of Karnataka.

The State government has extended the ban on marketing and movement of poultry and poultry products to and from the surveillance zone till November 15.


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