Over 1,000 ducks affected by avian influenza were culled by official teams constituted by the government in various parts of the district on Wednesday. The operations will continue on Thursday, according to officials of the Animal Husbandry Department.
Special teams deputed in Thakazhy, Cheruthana, and Muttom grama panchayats conducted surveys at the locations where ducks were affected by the disease. As many as 1,167 ducks affected by the disease-causing virus were culled at various places, according to a senior official of the department. Six hundred ducks were culled at Muttom and 396 ducks at Thakazhy. As many as 180 ducks infected by the virus were killed at Cheruthana. The culling operations could not be carried out at Kainadi in Neelamperoor. It would be done on Thursday, the official said.
The presence of the virus was confirmed only on Monday evening after receiving a report from the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal. Official teams swung into action the very next day after a meeting was convened by District Collector Veena N. Madhavan. Twenty special teams consisting of officials from the Animal Husbandry Department, besides Revenue and police and representatives of local bodies were formed for the purpose of identifying the virus-infected ducks and to execute the culling operations.
The H5N8 virus found in Alappuzha are of lesser severity in comparison to several other strains. The H5N2 virus which hit the poultry sector in the district in 2014 was much more dangerous, according to officials.
The strategy of the official team this time is to destroy the ones affected by the virus and isolate the others so that en masse culling is not required.