Thiruvananthapuram: The avian flu outbreak in 12 village councils in three districts of Kerala has been confirmed as H5N1 virus, a minister said Thursday. Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan said test results confirmed that the death of ducks in certain parts of the state was due to H5N1. ”The animal husbandry department is doing its best and all necessary preventive care and precautions are being taken. The central government is also supporting the action we are taking,” Mohanan said. An up-to-date report is being sent twice every day to the Prime Minister’s Office and the union health department. ”The affected areas are being closely monitored and no chances are being taken.
Public awareness campaigns have begun and everyone is doing their best,” he said. According to medical professionals, even though there is no need to panic, the disease can spread to human beings and there is a 60 percent chance of mortality. The virus has been identified in 12 village councils in Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. However, in certain places, tests conducted Thursday on dead ducks and poultry birds did not show the presence of the virus. Special teams wearing protective gear have started culling birds in the affected areas. Due to avian flu, sale of chicken has virtually come to a halt across the state and prices have dropped. On Thursday, a kg of chicken was being sold for Rs.60 – down by Rs.20 compared to Wednesday. With poultry dishes disappearing from the dining tables, fish and beef sales have peaked.