Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has decided to cull about 200,000 poultry birds as a precautionary measure against the H5 avian influenza virus, a minister said Tuesday.
"We got reports from a Bhopal laboratory that H5 avian influenza virus has been identified in poultry birds in Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts. So as a precautionary measure about two lakh birds mostly ducks would be culled starting Tuesday in the affected areas," Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan told reporters after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
"Awareness campaigns have already been started in these three districts. Other ministers have been asked to visit the districts," said Mohanan.
A number of ducks in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts have died in the past two weeks. Their samples have been sent to a few labs. The Bhopal lab confirmed that the ducks have been dying due to the avian influenza.
"Poultry owners, whose birds are going to be culled, will get a compensation of Rs.75 each for those which are two-month old and Rs.150 for birds that over two-month old," said Mohanan.
Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar said studies have proved that the most vulnerable to get H1NI is the one who deals with these birds.
"We have decided, those involved in killing these birds, would be given masks and aprons. No case of H1N1 has been reported till now, so there is no need to panic. People should eat eggs and meat only after cooking them properly," said Sivakumar.
"It has also been decided that not a single bird will be allowed to be transported from the affected areas. All the birds will be burnt," said Sivakumar.