The decision was taken at a high level meeting convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to formulate preventive measures to contain the spread of H5 Avian Influenza virus.      

The issue came to fore a few days back with the mass death of over 15,000 ducks in water-logged Kuttanad area in Alappuzha.

Tests on dead samples conducted at the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory at Bhopal has confirmed avian influenza as the cause of mass death of ducks, following which a red alert has been sounded in Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts to restrict movement of poultry and allied products.

Briefing reporters on the action plan, Animal Husbandry Minister K P Hohanan and Health Minister V S Sivakumar said a rapid action team equipped with all the paraphernalia, including masks and preventive medicine kits, would be sent to carry out the culling.

All sorts of birds, including pets, would be burnt to death by using Kerosene. Government would provide a compensation for them at the rate of Rs 75 for each chick of below two months growth and Rs 150 for the birds of growth of above two months.

Since there are chances of human beings getting infected with the virus due to close contact,  people in the area had been alerted to keep away from the places where the culling will take place.

As a precautionary measure, sale and transportation of eggs, meat and allied poultry products from around 10 km of affected areas had been banned.

A three-member team from National Centre for Disease Control will be visiting the affected areas soon to make an assessment of the situation and advise the state authorities as part of the central protocol for tackling the situation.

As per primary assessment, the virus was spread by droppings of migratory birds flown into the area.  
 
A 24-hour control room will be opened to monitor the situation closely. An awareness campaign, especially targetting the poultry farmers and villagers, will be conducted in the area.

The Health Department would also take steps to supply preventive medicines to government hospitals and health centres in the area to check the spread of the virus to human beings.

"Though the issue is serious there is no room for alarm as the affected areas have been demarcated and the buffer zone fixed," the minister said.

A team of veterinarians had already been deputed to the affected areas like Thalavadi, Purakkd, Kainakari in Alappuzha district and Aymanam near Kottayam.

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