Bird flu outbreak: Central team takes stock of situation in Kerala

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(Eds: Adds details, removes Kottayam district from intro) Alappuzha(Ker), Jan 7 (PTI) A three-member central team on Thursday took stock of the situation arising out of outbreak of bird flu in Alappuzha district, officials said here.

The team comprising Union Health Ministry's public health specialist Dr Ruchi Jain, Pune National Institute of Virology scientist Dr Shailesh Pawar and Delhi RML Hospital physician Dr Anith Jindal visited the hotspots of the bird flu outbreak in the district, they said.

Officials from the Animal Husbandry department briefed the central team about the steps taken by the administration to prevent the spread of the H5N8 strain of bird flu.

They were also briefed by the Health Department officials on the COVID-19 situation in the district.

The central team has been informed that over 20 farmers were hit by the bird flu outbreak in the district.

Officials said over 43,000 ducks were culled and 32,550 eggs were destroyed in the district till Thursday to contain the H5N8 strain of bird flu.

Later, the central team visited affected areas of Thakazhy, Pallippad and Karuvatta in Kuttanad region of Alappuzha district.

They also held discussions with district authorities at the collectorate.

Nineteen Rapid Response teams have been engaged in culling birds in both Alappuzha and Kottayam districts and the regions suspected to have infected the birds are being sanitised, officials said.

State Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju has said there is no history of the H5N8 virus being transmitted to humans.

Authorities have banned sale of bird meat and eggs in the affected regions.

To provide relief to the affected farmers, the state government has decided to compensate them for culling their birds.

For culled birds which are over two-months-old Rs 200 each will be given and for those under the age of two-months the farmers will be compensated at Rs 100 each, the government has said.

For eggs destroyed due to avian flu, farmers will be given a compensation of Rs 5 each.

Culling of ducks, hens and other domestic birds in and around one km radius of the affected areas in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts is being conducted as per the guidelines issued by the government.

The operation was launched after results of the samples tested at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal confirmed the outbreak of the bird flu in the two districts.PTI TGB SS PTI PTI PTI PTI