Thiruvananthapuram: The avian flu outbreak, confirmed as the H5N1 virus, in three districts of Kerala is coming under control while two human samples have now been cleared as negative, said an official on Sunday.

Speaking to IANS, B. Brahmanandan, animal husbandry department director, said culling operations will nearly end by Sunday evening and around 200,000 poultry birds would have been culled in these 12 affected villages.

“Today, there was a new village council — Chennithala [in Alappuzha district] — where ducks tested positive for this virus and immediately 35 culling teams were sent there. As things stand now, things are under control and there is no reason to panic,” he said.

Brahmanandan said the biggest reason for cheer was that two human samples have now been cleared as negative.

“Starting Monday, we will now get into the second phase of the operation where surveillance of the poultry birds in a three square kilometre radius of these 13 villages would be undertaken. At the same time, those outside this area but inside a 10 square kilometre radius will also be observed,” added Brahmanandan who has been overseeing the entire operation.