Bird flu confirmed in kites, cranes at Mararikulam in Alappuzha

Representational image
Representational image: IANS

Alappuzha: The samples from kites and cranes found dead in Mararikulam North panchayat in Alappuzha district have returned positive for bird flu, confirming the spread to undomesticated bird species.

Mararikulam North Panchayat president Sudarsanabai K said: “The samples were collected and sent to Bhopal (National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases) after we found dead kites and swans in the panchayat.”

Following the positive results, the panchayat has scheduled a meeting for Wednesday afternoon with the health and animal husbandry departments to discuss further course of action.

The Chief Veterinary Officer of Alappuzha, Dr Rema, said the latest spread of the bird flu changes the whole dimension of this year's flu occurrence. “Now that the flu has spread to flying birds like crows, kites and cranes, a meeting has been called by the health and animal husbandry departments. A detailed circular on the do's and don'ts regarding the changed circumstances will be made available to the public as soon as possible,” said Dr Rema. She said there has not been any other case of bird flu found among undomesticated birds in the district.

The latest development in the district is in line with the set of patterns that have been unique to this year's spread of bird flu. While usually, the bird flu appeared during the winter months of December-January, this year the spread first happened during the summer months of April-May.

While usually, the spread of the bird flu was limited to the southern part of Alappuzha district, this year the flu has spread to the northern parts of Cherthala and Mararikulam.

Usually, the spread of bird flu was limited to farm ducks. This year, the flu had spread to chickens and, for the first time in the state, among crows as well. The source of this year's bird flu is yet to be ascertained.

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