THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A high alert has been sounded in Kerala after four bird flu cases were reported in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts, keeping the officials on their toes.
The presence of the dreaded virus was confirmed in some ducks following which the State Minister for Forest, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development K. Raju had ordered culling of 50,000 ducks in both Kottayam and Alappuzha districts, to contain the spread of the infection.
Officials also confirmed that as many as 12,000 ducks have died.
The Minister said that after the first case was reported at Neendoorpanchayat in Kottayam district and three in Alappuzha district's panchayats, samples were sent to Bhopal's National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD), where the virus was confirmed. Of the eight samples of the ducks sent to NIHSAD, five have tested positive for bird flu or H5N8.
The state government has now imposed curbs in areas where the bird flu cases were reported and will continue with the culling within that radius. K. Raju said that control rooms will be set up in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. "Rapid Action Force will be deployed but no panic situation exists. The H5N8 virus has been reported in Kerala in the past. This virus will not spread to humans." The Minister added that compensation to the farmers will be decided in consultation with Chief Minister PinarayiVijayan. (IANS)