Bird flu: Culling of infected ducks to begin tomorrow in Alappuzha panchayats

A team of health experts visits a bird flu affected area. File Photo: PTI

Alappuzha: Culling of flu-infected ducks will commence on Friday in Alappuzha's Cheruthana and Edathua panchayats, sources said.
“We have received directions from the collectorate to start the culling process tomorrow. A veterinary team will carry it out. We are also collecting coconut husks, coconut shells, sugar, diesel, etc. To burn the carcass of the culled birds. Proper locations to carry out the process will be identified by the end of the day, today,” said Edathua panchayat president Mariamma George.

No spread of the disease has been reported, health officials said. For now, though, both Cheruthana and Edathua panchayats are on high alert. 

Ban on consumption, sale of duck, chicken till April 25
The District Collector has issued an order banning the consumption and sale of chicken, duck, quail, and other domestic birds, their eggs, meat, and fertilizer till April 25.

The order is applicable for the locally governed areas of Kainakiri, Nedumudy, Chambakulam, Ambalapuzha South, Thakazhi, Cheruthana, Veeyapuram, Talavadi, Muttar, Ramankari, Veliyanadu, Kavalam, Ambalapuzha North, Neelamperoor, Punnapra South, Purakkad, Pulinkunnu, Thrikunnapuzha, Kumarapuram, Chingoli, Chepad, Chennithala, Karuvatta, Haripad, Mannar, Karthikapalli, Pallippad, Edathua, Changanaserry Municipality, Vazhappalli, Kadapra, Nedumpra, Peringara, and Neeranam.

Local body secretaries are to ensure no consumption or sale of eggs, meat, and fertilizer of duck, chicken, and other domestic birds happen in these areas, and squads are to be formed for frequent monitoring of the same. Special inspection squads will be formed and drives carried out by the tahsildars of Kuttanad and Karthikappalli.

24-hour control room opens
A 24-hour control room has been opened at the District Veterinary Centre. Contact no. is 0477-2252636. The culling process will take place in Ward 1 of Edathua panchayat and Ward 3 of Cheruthana panchayat. For this, eight special teams have been formed. Other measures, including collection of materials to dispose of the culled birds and the distribution of PPE kits, have also been adopted. The health department will ensure training and preventive medicine for members of the special team. 

It is expected that the latest instance of bird flu will be put to an end with this culling process. In total, around 16,000 ducks are expected to be culled. It may take a day or two to cull the infected ducks, panchayath official said.

“Most of the infected ducks are sick and their heads are drooping. The culling process may take an extra day,” said Cheruthana panchayat member Shajan George.

However, he said that the repeated incidents of bird flu infection are affecting the morale of the farmers. “It is hard to believe that a country that has landed on the moon is unable to prevent repeated infections. Many measures have been devised to curb the instance of bird flu and we ask for its strict implementation. The government should establish a virology institute in Kuttanad to deal with such incidents,” Shajan said.

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