No bird flu in Karnataka, officials on high alert, says govt

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There is no case of bird flu (H5N8) in Karnataka yet, and officials have been asked to remain alert, state Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chauhan on Friday said. The alert in the state comes after many cases of bird flu reports in two districts of neighbouring Kerala.

The minister, who held a high-level meeting of senior officials of various departments concerned, instructed that a meeting under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissioners be held in all districts to keep a vigil and take all precautionary measures against bird flu, his office said in a release.

Transportation of poultry and its products from Kerala into the state had been prohibited, he said. People can consume meat and eggs without any fear, he added. There was no bar on arrival of poultry products from other states.

Bird flu has been reported in parts of Alappuzha and Kottayam districts in Kerala, prompting officials to cull birds, including ducks and chicken, there.

Deputy Commissioners of the districts sharing border with Kerala have been directed to take preventive measures by holding district level diseases control committee meetings. Chauhan said directions have also been given to have proper coordination between forest, urban and rural development and police departments.

Forest officials have been directed to be vigilant about symptoms of the flu or unnatural deaths among birds in Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Mysuru and Chamarajanagar districts bordering Kerala.

The minister also said officials have been asked to maintain care at poultry areas, especially bird sanctuaries and water bodies.

The Bengaluru Bannerghatta Biological Park, which is home to about 378 birds from 45 species, is also taking precautionary measures.