Bird flu: Kovai bans poultry from Kerala, Namakkal on high alert

Concerns over the spread of bird flu have surged leading to apprehension about consumption of chicken or eggs.
Bird flu: Kovai bans poultry from Kerala, Namakkal on high alert
S SENBAGAPANDIYAN

SALEM/COIMBATORE/NILGIRIS: Following the HI51 bird flu outbreak reported in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, the Animal Husbandry Department in Tamil Nadu has taken strict control measures to prevent the virus from spreading into the state. Poultry from Kerala have been banned from entering Coimbatore, and vehicles are sprayed with disinfectant at the entry points on Tamil Nadu-Kerala border, officials said.

Concerns over the spread of bird flu have surged leading to apprehension about consumption of chicken or eggs. With Namakkal being Tamil Nadu’s hub for poultry farming, concerns have risen among public regarding the safety of poultry products.  Allaying the fears, the poultry farmers association told TNIE that there have been no disruptions in egg and chicken export. According to the association, a staggering 15 crore eggs were exported last month.

When contacted, animal husbandry epartment  joint director C Narayanan told TNIE that no bird flu case has been detected in Namakkal district thus far. “Regular testing of poultry hens is conducted at the Poultry Disease Diagnosis Lab at Aandula Gate in Namakkal. Furthermore, all farms are closely monitored by veterinarians under the directives of district collector S Uma,” he added.

In a bid to prevent any outbreak, stringent measures have been implemented. Employees working in poultry farms are mandated to adhere to proper sanitation protocols while carrying out their duties.
The Coimbatore district administration, meanwhile, has imposed a complete ban on the entry of all poultry, poultry products, and ducks from Kerala. Animal husbandry department officials have tightened security checks at all the 12 check posts, including Walayar, Nadupuni, Anaikatti, Mulli, etc, on the Coimbatore-Kerala border. Three teams have been deployed to inspect vehicles arriving from Kerala at all hours. Each team consists of a veterinary assistant surgeon, a veterinary inspector, and two veterinary assistants, all overseen by a nodal officer.

K Geetha, district animal husbandry department assistant director (disease intelligence unit), told TNIE that they were informed about the bird flu outbreak on Thursday evening by the Chennai headquarters.
She added that in light of that they have intensified the inspection and no vehicles carrying poultry and poultry products, ducks are permitted to enter Coimbatore from Kerala. In addition to this, when Tamil Nadu vehicles transporting poultry, eggs, and other goods to Kerala come back, they thoroughly sanitise the vehicle with chlorine dioxide and grant them entry.

“As Coimbatore is located on the border, apart from bird flu alert, on a routine basis, we collect blood and swab samples from poultry which are grown at farms, villages, and water bodies. This surveillance allows us to closely monitor the presence of bird flu. However, poultry farmers have been instructed to inform unusual deaths or symptoms. There is no need to worry about the situation in the district.”

Like Coimbatore, the Nilgiris district administration has also taken precautionary measures and officers have taken initiatives to prevent the entry of any poultry through any of the eight interstate border checkposts that separate Nilgiris from Kerala and Karnataka.

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