Kerala

Mystery disease kills ducks in Alappuzha

Dead ducks at a field in Alappuzha.  

Mass death of ducks at Purakkad in Alappuzha has triggered panic among farmers in the region.

Joseph Cherian, a duck farmer, said he had lost 9,000 ducks (around 70 days old) in the past week due to a mysterious illness.

Animal Husbandry Department officials said samples of dead birds had been sent to the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), Bhopal, for analysis. “The cause of the deaths is yet to be ascertained. We are awaiting the examination results, which is expected in the next 48 hours. All the dead ducks belonged to a single farmer. Other than the deaths at Purakkad, no such incidents have been reported from anywhere in the district,” said an official.

The samples were sent to NIHSAD after tests conducted at the Avian Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Thiruvalla and the State Institute for Animal Diseases remained inconclusive.

Mr. Cherian was raising around 13,500 ducks, with an eye on the Christmas festive season, close to the outer bund of a paddy field when the birds started to fall sick and died last week. “I have immediately informed the matter to the Animal Husbandry Department officials. Although veterinarians provided vaccines and medicines after examining the ducks, it failed to stop birds from falling sick,” Mr. Cherian said. He has shifted the unaffected and healthy ducks to his home nearby.

Earlier this year, bird flu caused by the H5N8 strain of the Influenza A virus was detected from six places in Kuttanad at Nedumudi, Thakazhi, Pallippad, Karuvatta, and Kainakary in Alappuzha district and Neendoor in Kottayam district.

More than 80,000 birds, mostly ducks, died or were culled in the two districts due to the outbreak. It was the third outbreak of avian influenza reported in the region in the last seven years. In 2014, thousands of ducks had perished/culled following a highly infectious bird flu outbreak caused by H5N1 virus. In 2016, avian influenza caused by the H5N8 virus was detected among ducks in Kuttanad.

Besides, the region witnessed mass duck deaths in recent years due to bacterial infections.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 1:06:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mystery-disease-kills-ducks-in-alappuzha/article37772242.ece

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