Bird Flu Outbreak: Massive Culling of Domestic Birds Planned

The Alappuzha district administration in Kerala is taking decisive action in response to an outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) H5N1 among domestic ducks. Following confirmed cases of infection in Kodappunna and Cheruthana Panchayats in Kuttanad, the administration has announced plans to cull over 21,000 domestic birds within a one-kilometer radius of the affected areas on Friday. Additionally, the sale of chicken and eggs has been prohibited in the affected regions, and the transportation of birds to other locations has been banned as well.

The decision to initiate the culling process was made after several ducks in Edathua and Cheruthana succumbed to the virus, prompting authorities to send samples for testing. All three samples returned positive for H5N1, prompting the urgent need for containment measures. While the H5N1 virus primarily affects birds, it can also pose a risk to humans through direct contact with infected birds or contaminated surfaces. Although human transmission is rare, infection with H5N1 can lead to severe illness, with a mortality rate of up to 60 percent.

Symptoms of H5N1 infection in humans include cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, fatigue, and shortness of breath, with diarrhea and vomiting also being important indicators. Given the potential severity of the outbreak, authorities are taking proactive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect both animal and human health in the affected areas.

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