In a return of the bird flu outbreak in Kerala, a fresh case has been reported in a poultry farm in Alappuzha district’s Kainakary, with officials readying measures for culling and sanitising efforts in the region, a top official said.
Dr KM Dileep, director of the state’s animal husbandry department, confirmed that the H5N8 subtype of the Influenza A virus, commonly known as bird flu, has been detected in a sample sent for testing to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases lab in Bhopal. The sample was taken from a dead hen from a poultry farm in Kainakary in the Kuttanad belt of Alappuzha.
“We’ll have to cull birds in a one-km radius of the farm. As per our estimate, we will have to cull around 1600 hens and 700 ducks. Teams have been sent to visit the fields today itself and complete culling operations by tomorrow,” he said. Sanitisation efforts will follow in a 10-km radius of the farm.
In the first week of January, five out of eight samples sent to the Bhopal lab had come back positive for bird flu in Kerala. The cases were detected among ducks in four panchayats in Kottayam and one panchayat in Alappuzha district. Around 50,000 birds, mostly ducks, had to be culled then, dealing massive blows to the poultry farmers in the region. The government had promised compensation for the birds that would be culled.
Dr Dileep said the bird flu case in Kainakary today is not linked to the cases detected earlier. “This is much more localised and there has not been a spread yet,” he said.