Mysuru: While the rest of the world is fighting one virus, this city in Karnataka is battling two. The coronavirus has been threatening to break into Mysuru ever since three positive cases were identified across the border in Kerala in February.
But now, Mysuru is having to deal with a breakout of avian influenza or H5N1. With two dead bird testing positive for the virus yesterday, as many as 1000 domestic native chickens from households and 6000-6500 broiler birds at two poultry farms were culled on Tuesday.
Officers of the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and the Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services took up the cull as a precautionary protocol to prevent a wider spread of bird flu.
All the 7500 chickens culled were within a 100 m radius of the residence of Mr Ramachandra of Metgalli locally. One of his domestic chicken that had died was confirmed for bird flu.
The chickens were killed by wringing their necks. They were all buried with all safety precautionary measures.
Meat sale within a 10 km radius from the epicentre of Mr Ramachandra’s residence has been banned. And from Monday night, authorities have been ensuring that no birds are transported from Mysuru to other places conducting thorough checks at checkposts.
The Department of Animal Husbandry has surveyed poultry farms and the domestic chicken in a 1 km radius of Mr Ramachandra’s residence, according to MCC officers.
The alert was sounded after 15 domestic chickens were found dead unsually at the residence of Mr Ramachandra. Three samples from the dead birds were sent for testing. Among them, one came back positive for bird flu.
Also six egrets were found dead near the crematorium in the Kumbar Koppal area here. So samples of all the six birds were sent for testing and one was positive of bird flu.
The samples were sent on 12 March and the reports from the Bhopal lab arrived on Monday, according to a deputy director in the Department of Animal Husbandry Dr Ajith Kumar.
Besides these birds, as many as 12 pond herons in Vidyaranyapuram, and 50 near the Hebbal lake were found dead as well but their reports were negative for bird flu, Dr Ajith Kumar said.
Deaths of chicken at poultry farms due to suspected bird flu have been reported from Kozhikode in Kerala, and border districts including Mysuru, Kodagu and Chamarajnagar have been on high alert for a week. The authorities are checking if chickens were transported from Kerala.
According to the Mysuru Hotel Owners Association official C Narayangowda, all hotels in Mysuru are being asked to stop sale of non-vegetarian food until further orders.
Due to the Covid-19 scare, sales of chicken in Mysuru had already fallen drastically in the past 15 days. And with a bird flu scare, sale have further dropped by more than 90 percent last week. While the wholesale rate of a one kg broiler bird used to be Rs 75, it has dropped to Rs 10-15, he said.
Due to the Covid-19 scare, the Mysuru Zoo, which houses 694 birds belonging to 77 species, has been closed for a week from Sunday. Also the Shukavana Bird Park of Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamy’s Avadhoota Datta Peetham Ashram, which houses over 2900 parrots belonging to 468 species, has also ben closed since the fourth of this month.