Kerala on prevention drive after flu traced to H5N1

Kerala on prevention drive after flu traced to H5N1

A day after the avian influenza (bird flu) outbreak in south-central districts of Kerala was traced to H5N1 virus, the state government intensified preventive measures and awareness drives in affected areas.

As the possibility of the virus spreading to humans looming large, special teams attached to the health ministry visited more than 14,000 households on inspection, Kerala’s health minister V S Sivakumar told reporters here after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

“About 20,000 protective kits have been supplied to the culling teams. The state will also source an additional 30,000 preventive tablets by tomorrow,” Sivakumar said.

Meanwhile, culling of ducks continued in the affected regions of Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts. The minister said 18,882 poultry birds – all within a 10-km radius from the affected areas – have been culled till Thursday. The government plans to complete the culling of birds over the next three days.

 Three experts from the National Centre for Disease Control  are in the affected districts to review progress of preventive measures. A total of 245 culling squads have been readied. In Alappuzha, 50 teams are already operating while Kottayam and Pathanamthitta have 15 and 10 teams respectively.

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