Amid coronavirus outbreak in the nation, on Saturday, a case of bird flu has been reported from two poultry farms in Kerala's Kozhikode district. This has prompted authorities to order the culling of ducks and hens within one km radius of the affected areas. District Collector Sreeram Sambasiva Rao, who chaired an urgent meeting of officials of the Animal Husbandry, Health and police on Saturday to take stock of the situation in the wake of the outbreak of the Avian flu.
The state government has drawn up an action plan, including the deployment of action teams each comprising five members including one from the Animal Husbandry and Health departments, the collector told reporters here. He advised the public not to panic and said necessary measures were being taken to contain the spread.
"Swift action has been initiated to cull all chickens, ducks and other domestic birds in and around one-kilometre radius of the two farms. This is only to prevent the spreading of the virus to nearby areas. Though the exact numbers are not available, it could run to few a hundred including all chicken in these two poultry farms," Deputy Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry Office, Thiruvananthapuram, M K Prasad said.
Animal Husbandry Department sources said bird flu or Avian Influenza in poultry with LPAI virus may cause no disease or mild illness or may show mild signs, which may not be detected. Infection of poultry with HPAI virus can cause severe disease with high mortality. Bird flu occurs naturally in wild waterfowl and can spread to domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese. The disease is transmitted via contact with an infected bird''s feces, or secretions from its nose, mouth or eye.
The last case of bird flu was reported in the state in 2016, sources said. All the poultry birds, including the chickens in the two poultry farms in Vengeri and Kodiyathoor, would be culled and buried in a closed environment. The total number of birds to be culled would be between 10,000 to 12,000, they added.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday to discuss the issue of Coronavirus which has become a global threat with 31 cases of the virus tested positive in India. The Health Minister will likely to brief PM Modi about the measures that have been taken by the government in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak as well as 'standards of care' maintained in hospitals.
"Every era brings new challenges to test and strengthen our 'Collaborate to Create' spirit. Just as today, Coronavirus has come up as a big challenge in front of the world. Financial institutions have considered it as a big challenge for the economy. Today, we all have to tackle this situation together," Prime Minister Modi had earlier said at a media conclave.
According to the Union Health Ministry, the fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported from New Delhi, Telangana, and Rajasthan where an Italian national was found positive with the infection in Jaipur. Last month, three cases were recorded in Kerala — who have now recovered and discharged from hospital.
(with PTI inputs)