THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ( KERALA ): A day after the state was put on high alert after the deadly H5N1 strain of virus was confirmed as the cause of the bird flu outbreak, the state government has taken steps to procure preventive medicines to tackle any outbreak of the fever. The government has placed orders for 50,000 Oseltamivir tablets and is in the process of placing tenders for three lakh more tablets.
The government has ensured personal protective kits for those engaged in culling activities. Already, 20,000 kits are available, Health Minister V S Sivakumar said after a review meeting here. He said compensation to farmers would be given only for culled birds. So far, 18,852 ducks have been culled.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, Chief Secretary E K Bharat Bhushan, Health secretary K Elangovan, Animal Husbandry secretary Subrata Biswas, DHS P K Jameela, NRHM Kerala director Minhaj Alam, state nodal officer for infectious diseases Amar Fettel were present.
Sivakumar said all hospitals are well equipped to tackle any outbreak. A separate isolation ward with ventilator facility will be set up at the Thrissur Medical College, he said.
Loss in Business
The price of chicken has plummeted by as much as `30 per kilogram in most parts of Kerala as fear of the epidemic has spread across the state. Reports on Friday said that price has gone down in areas where there have been no records of death.Interstate transport of the chickens has also come down drastically. While the arrival of live chickens through Nadupunni and Kozhipara checkposts on Nov 26 was 43,060, it was just 3,500 on Nov 27. Arrival on Friday was almost nil, said Dr Prakash, who holds charge of the check posts.