Bird flu: culling begins in three districts

A rapid action squad commencing culling operations at Kareemadom in Aymanam grama panchayat, near Kumarakom, on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: binishmalloossery

Special teams wearing protective aprons and masks began a massive culling operation in three districts on Wednesday as part of control and containment measures to prevent the spread of avian influenza virus in Kerala.

As many as 1,800 birds, most of them ducks, were culled in Kottayam district after the day-long operation by six teams, each led by a veterinary doctor.

15 teams in Alappuzha

The 15 teams deployed in Alappuzha and one team in Pathanamthitta were continuing their work late into the night, according to V. Brahmanandan, Director, Animal Husbandry Department.

The birds are killed by twisting the neck to cause cervical dislocation and the carcasses burnt using wood and kerosene.

At some places, the culling teams met with resistance from farmers incensed over the loss of the birds which constitute their livelihood.

A quarantine officer from the Union Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF) is scheduled to arrive here on Thursday to oversee the control measures adopted by the State.

The officer is expected to visit the affected areas after holding discussions with State department officials here.

Two scientists from the department who are already in the State visited the panchayats in Kottayam and Alappuzha where mass mortality of ducks occurred over the last few days.

Meanwhile, the death of ducks in some parts of Ernakulam district on Wednesday sparked fresh fears about the spread of the virus.

Dr. Brahmanandan said samples of the dead birds had been sent for analysis. He said bio-security measures had been tightened at poultry farms across the State.

Kepco imposes curbs

The Kerala State Poultry Development Corporation (Kepco) has strengthened bio-safety measures at its farms at Kudappanakunnu in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottiyam in Kollam, and Mala in Thrissur district.

Kepco Managing Director Noushad Ali told The Hindu that all employees and visitors to the farms would be thoroughly screened before entry.

The regulations would be applicable to the Corporation’s integrated farms also.

Mr. Ali said it had been decided to block the transport of poultry products from Kepco’s farms across the State to minimise exposure to the virus.

He said Kepco had decided on advance procurement of preventive medicines and protective gear for its staff.

It suspended distribution of chicks in the three bird flu-affected districts.


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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 12:59:06 AM |

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