Kerala declares bird flu as state disaster, 2 districts on high alert

The Kerala government has declared bird flu as a state disaster. A high alert has been issued in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts where the disease has been detected primarily. Bird flu was detected in the state when samples of dead ducks were tested in some parts of both the districts. However, it has been clarified that the disease has not been transmitted to people.

At least 50,000 ducks will be culled to check the spread of the virus and the government will compensate farmers. It was confirmed in Kottayam’s Neendoor panchayat after roughly 1,650 ducks on a farm died of the disease. However, it is less likely to spread as it is an isolated area. Eight teams of five members were deployed in the district for taking preventive actions. A decision was made to kill all the birds within a kilometre radius to control the disease. Around 48,000 birds will have to be killed including pet and domestic birds. Wildlife Minister K Raju said that the compensation for the farmers will be decided after consultation with the chief minister. Last year, bird flu was confirmed in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts. Birds were killed in a similar manner to prevent further spread of the disease.

Bird flu, also known as avian flu, is a variety of influenza caused by a virus in birds. It can spread to humans and can trigger a person to person transmission, experts say. There are many varieties of viruses and H7N9 is considered dangerous among them, they say. According to the World Health Organization, there are many subtypes of avian influenza virus and only some of them will be dangerous to humans. Winged guests are reported to be the main carriers of the virus.