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Kerala: TN border districts on high alert after bird flu outbreak in Alappuzha

The outbreak of N5H1 bird flu in Kerala's Alappuzha has prompted officials to conduct checks in districts neighboring Tamil Nadu. Vehicles, including those transporting goods, are undergoing rigorous 24-hour monitoring, according to Kerala Health Department.

Kerala: TN border districts on high alert after bird flu outbreak in Alappuzha anr
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First Published Apr 22, 2024, 9:58 AM IST

Alappuzha: Following the H5N1 bird flu outbreak in Alappuzha, districts neighboring Tamil Nadu and Kerala borders have been placed on high alert. Twelve check posts, including Anaikatti, Gopalapuram, Walayar, and various locations in Kanyakumari and Theni districts, are under stringent surveillance by the Health Department and the Animal Husbandry Department.

Vehicles, including those transporting goods, are undergoing rigorous 24-hour monitoring. They are permitted to proceed only after thorough inspection and disinfectant spraying. Kerala Health Department officials have affirmed that all necessary measures to curb the spread of bird flu are underway and being implemented diligently. Individuals observing any symptoms or signs of bird flu are urged to promptly report or notify the health department.

In Theni district, authorities have established special check-posts along the borders between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Locations such as Bodimettu, Lower Camp, and Kumily are currently under scrutiny. Traditionally, commodities like vegetables, flowers, milk, and other goods are transported from towns like Dindigul, Theni, and certain areas of Madurai to Kerala. Conversely, merchants in these Tamil Nadu districts procure meat, chicken, eggs, and cattle-feed from Kerala.

To prevent the spread of bird flu, the Kerala Health Department has culled 21,000 ducks in the two panchayats, Edathua and Cheruthana, located in the Alappuzha district. Additionally, domestic birds within a one-kilometer radius of these two panchayats have also been culled.

The district administration has declared the areas in the two panchayats as flu-affected and banned the transportation of birds from there to other places in the district. The sale of eggs, feeds, and manure of ducks, chickens and other birds has been banned for two weeks.

Ducks in these areas have been experiencing a significant number of deaths over the past week, prompting authorities to take swift action. Samples taken from affected ducks were sent to a laboratory in Bhopal for testing, and all samples tested positive for the disease.

What is the H5N1 virus?

H5N1 is a type of influenza virus that primarily affects birds, particularly poultry such as chickens and ducks. It is highly pathogenic, meaning it can cause severe illness and high mortality rates in infected birds. H5N1 is one of several subtypes of the influenza A virus, and it can also infect other animals and occasionally humans.

Direct contact with infected birds, their droppings, or contaminated surfaces are ways of spreading the virus. The infection has not yet been easily transmitted to humans, but when it does, the fatality rate can be as high as 60 percent.

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