Animals
Farmers in the region have suffered losses amounting to more than 1 crore rupees after several of their ducks died.
Image for representation.

The Upper Kuttanad region is seeing a peculiar epidemic after a flock of ducks reportedly died in the past few days alone. The farmers in the region noticed that a mass number of ducks were dying. On Wednesday over 5000 ducks were found dead in the region.

Farmers have stated that the birds would die a day or two after they appeared sick and drowsy. The state Animal Husbandry Department officials collected samples and sent them for testing to the Avian Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Thiruvalla. “The examination has revealed the cause of death as bacterial infection. Duck deaths were reported from flood-hit areas. The dead ducks were infected while being reared in contaminated waters. We have directed farmers to shift ducks from areas where infection has been reported. Distribution of medicines to prevent the disease has been started. The situation is under control and there is no need for panic,” said an official to The Hindu.

Other regions which reported large numbers of duck deaths included Budhanoor, Veeyapuram, Pallipad, Mannar, Kadapra and Niranam. A farmer from Mannar had earlier lost over 3000 ducks.

PC Sunilkumar, an official from the Animal Husbandry Department stated that the ducks appear to have contracted a bacterial infection which they may have developed as a result of drinking contaminated water post the floods, “We have given directions to the farmers to quarantine the sick ducks to save the remaining ones and check the spread of the disease in other places. We have also started distribution of medicines for prevention,” he said to the media.

Three years ago, over 5 lakh ducks had been culled following an H1N1 outbreak to curb the spread of the infection. While a few messages are being circulated on social media, warning people about an H1N1 spread, officials have stated that this is false information and has cautioned the general public against spreading and believing such news.

Last year, over 5000 ducks in the region were lost due to an epidemic of pasteurella. Following the deluge, it was reported that over 98,000 ducks had died in the state, incurring farmers a loss estimated to be over Rs 1 crore.  

This article has been produced in partnership with Oxfam India. In the last 10 years, Oxfam India has delivered over 36 impactful humanitarian responses in India. Oxfam India is providing critical relief to the affected families and communities in Kerala: clean drinking water, sanitation, and shelter kits. Click here to help #RebuildKerala.