Bird flu: Strict vigil in Neendoor of Kottayam

Dead ducks affected by bird flu have been piled up for burial at Kuttanad

Ettumanoor: The district administration has called for strict measures after bird flu was confirmed at Neendoor in Kottayam. 

Mass deaths of ducks at the farm of two Neendoor natives, Kaluparambil Babu and Kaimoolayil Babu, were reported from December 28. The farm is situated near Chozhiyapara at the 14th ward of Neendoor panchayat.

Ducks and other domestic birds in the affected region would be culled from Tuesday to prevent the spread of the disease.

1,700 ducklings died

Officials led by Dr Shaji Panickassery, the animal husbandry officer in the district collected samples from the region on December 29. These samples were sent to the Avian Disease Diagnostics lab at Thiruvalla and the National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal. The Bhopal Institute informed on Monday that the virus strain of avian influenza was detected in the samples. Authorities said that 1,700 of the 8,000 ducklings had died till Monday. The ducklings were around 70 days old. 

Around 20 ducks had died at a farm at Kudavechoor in Kottayam. However, the test results of the samples from this farm were negative. A team led by Collector M Anjana carried out checks in the regions where mass deaths of ducks were reported.

Do not crowd around

After the bird flu was confirmed, authorities have called for a strict vigil in Neendoor panchayat. People have been barred from crowding around in the affected area.

An emergency meeting, chaired by Collector M Anjana, was held at Neendoor panchayat on Monday evening. 

Tehsildar P Rajendra Babu, panchayat president V K Pradeep, vice-president Pushpamma Thomas, block panchayat vice-president Thomas Kottoor, veterinary surgeon Dr Praseena Dev and secretary M Bheema took part in the meet.

‘No panic situation’

Collector M Anjana said that there was no panic situation, currently.

"Though bird flu can be transmitted to humans, there is no panic situation now. The health department has intensified awareness measures,” she added.

While pointing out that the farm was at a non-residential area, Dr Praseena Dev, veterinary surgeon at Kaipuzha, said there was no need for any fears of the disease spread for now.

Disease from migratory birds?

The animal husbandry department suspects that migratory birds caused the infection. A high-level meet, chaired by Minister K Raju, was held on Monday to take stock of the situation.

Do not procure ducks

The animal husbandry department has enforced a ban over procuring ducks or ducklings at the farms or other outlets in the district until further orders are issued.

Control room

A 24-hour control room has been opened at the district veterinary centre at Kodimatha for providing information about the bird flu and clearing any queries. Phone: 0481- 2564623

Measures to prevent disease spread 

 Ducks to be culled

The remaining ducks in the affected regions and all domestic birds in the 1km radius would be culled. The steps would be initiated on Tuesday. Around 3000 domestic birds, including ducks, are estimated to be in the nearby regions of the affected area. After the ducks are culled, the health department will carry out disinfection and continue surveillance in the region.

• Rapid Response Team

Eight Rapid Response Teams, led by veterinary doctors, have been deployed to cull and bury the ducks in the area where the bird flu outbreak was confirmed. Police, revenue and panchayat officials are also part of the teams. The camp of the Rapid Response Teams has been set up at the SKV LP School at Mekavu. The Neendoor panchayat has to ensure the necessary arrangements.

• 10km surveillance

The animal husbandry department will take steps to collect samples within the 10km radius of the area where the bird flu was confirmed and carry out tests to check if the disease has spread to other regions.

 Migratory birds to be monitored

The Social Forestry wing has been entrusted to specially monitor migratory birds at Neendoor and nearby areas. Instructions have been given to alert the animal husbandry department if any unusual deaths of migratory birds were noticed.

• Fishing banned

A fishing ban was also imposed at the 14th ward of the Neendoor grama panchayat, where the disease was reported, and the nearby areas.

• Precautions should be taken, says Centre

The Union Ministry of Environment & Forest has shot off a missive to the states, instructing on the precautionary measures to be taken and seeking steps to prevent the spread of the bird flu. 

A committee must be formed to monitor migratory birds. People, coming in close contact with the birds, need to wear gloves and masks.

Meanwhile, state animal husbandry director DR KM Dileep has instructed that meat and eggs of poultry birds from other states should be thoroughly cooked.

Also, a discussion has been initiated on giving compensation to the farmers in the state. When the bird flu was reported last time, fowls and ducks were culled and Rs 200 was given for one bird then. 

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