THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Over 69,000 birds including ducks and chicken were culled in the districts of Alappuzha and Kottayam to contain the H5N8 strain of bird flu, Kerala Animal Husbandry Minister K Raju said on Wednesday.
The minister said 19 Rapid Response Teams have been engaged in culling birds in both the districts and the regions suspected to have infected the birds will be sanitised on Thursday.
Raju said there is no history of the H5N8 virus being transmitted to humans.
"As per the preliminary reports, the birds in the state were infected by migratory birds. As of now, there is no history of the virus being transmitted to humans. However, it's possible that the virus may mutate. So we haveto remain alert," Raju told reporters.
He said the ban on sale of bird meat and eggs in these regions will continue.
"The state cabinet which met today has decided to compensate the farmers for culling their birds. Culled birds which are over two-month-old will be given Rs 200 each and those under the age of two-months will be compensated at Rs 100 each," the minister said.
He also said eggs destroyed due to avian flu will be given a compensation of Rs 5 each.
The minister said 61,513 birds including ducks and chicken have been culled in Alappuzha while 7,729 were culled in Kottayam.
Culling of ducks, hens and other domestic birds in and around one km radius of the affected areas in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts will be conducted as per the guidelines issued by the government.
The operation was launched after results of the samples tested at the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases in Bhopal confirmed the outbreak of the bird flu in the two districts.
The outbreak was initially reported in four panchayats of Nedumudi, Thakazhy, Pallippad and Karuvatta in Kuttanad region of the Alappuzha district.
Officials have banned the use and trade of meat, eggs and waste of domestic birds, including ducks and chicken, in both the districts.