Two districts in Kerala, Alappuzha and Kottayam, have been put on high alert after bird flu cases have been confirmed in ducks, said state animal husbandry minister K Raju. He said at least 50,000 ducks will be culled to check the spread of the virus and the government will compensate farmers.
Fresh cases were detected after ducks started dying in large numbers, said Alappuzha district veterinary officer K Lekha. Later tests at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal confirmed the presence of the virus in dead birds. The minister has called a meeting tomorrow to coordinate steps to contain the outbreak.
In 2016, bird flu was reported in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts and at least 2 lakh chicken and ducks were culled to control the outbreak. Highly contagious vet experts said all rearing birds in the vicinity will have to be culled to contain the disease. In the two districts, chicken prices have plummeted after the news surfaced.
Bird flu, also known as avian flu, is a variety of influenza caused by a virus in birds. It can spread to humans and can trigger a person to person transmission, experts say. There are many varieties of viruses and H7N9 is considered dangerous among them, they say. According to the World Health Organization, there are many subtypes of avian influenza virus and only some of them will be dangerous to humans. Winged guests are reported to be the main carriers of the virus.