India culls thousands of poultry birds to stop avian flu

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Jan. 7 (UPI) — Officials in India have started taking action to stop the spread of newly diagnosed avian flu, or bird flu, by culling thousands of poultry birds.

The Kerala state in southern India ordered more than 38,000 poultry birds killed after affected dead birds were found in two districts.

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The avian flu has been detected in ducks, crows, wild geese and other birds in the country, according to India’s Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

The Avian flu is a highly contagious viral disease caused by Influenza Type A viruses, which generally affect poultry birds such as chickens and turkeys. Some strains may cause a dip in egg production or other mild symptoms among chickens, while others are deadly.

“The birds affected are migratory birds,” Archana Sharma, a senior official in Kerala’s forest department, said. “All we can do is follow the strategy of clearing up the area of contamination.

“We comb the entire area of the sanctuary and we physically send 10 teams every day who search for any dead birds and dispose of them.”

Indian officials identified the spread of the bird flu in three other states, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

One local report stated that the Agar-Malwa district became the first to ban the sale of chickens. Officials made the decision after 77 crows eight Herons were found dead. Officials also found about 100 dead crows in Malwa and Indore.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said no chickens will be purchased from Kerala for the next 10 days because of bird flu concerns.