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Don’t eat half-cooked chicken, raw eggs: Delhi govt advisory on bird flu

Don’t eat half-cooked chicken and raw eggs, the Delhi government advised people on Monday as six more bird deaths were reported in the national capital, taking the avian influenza toll to 64 in a week.

delhi Updated: Oct 25, 2016 01:29 IST
Ritam Halder
Bird flu
Vendors sell chicken in the wake of bird flu scare at Gazipur market in New Delhi. (PTI)

Don’t eat half-cooked chicken and raw eggs, the Delhi government advised people on Monday as six more bird deaths were reported in the national capital, taking the avian influenza toll to 64 in a week.

The government issued an 11-point health advisory after a meeting with officials at the forefront of the city’s fight against the bird flu outbreak. Tests revealed the H5N8 virus, believed to be less virulent for humans, is killing the birds, but strict measures are being considered to prevent people from catching the disease.

“We ask people to avoid direct contact with bird secretions and carcasses,” development minister Gopal Rai said on Monday.

“Eat cooked meat. Do not consume uncooked or half-cooked chicken or half-boiled or half-fried eggs. Though H5N8 virus is not harmful to humans, precautions will help keep it at bay.”

Read: Demand for chicken falls after avian flu cases in Delhi

Though the virus is destroyed during the cooking process, there are chances of people getting infected during handling of infected poultry.

The minister’s advice came barely two days after he called chicken safe to eat. The government has not considered banning the sale of poultry in the city, but is monitoring wholesale markets strictly.

“Four bird deaths have been reported from a new site, a pond near Shakti Sthal and Raj Ghat. Tomorrow, I will visit the place,” Rai said.

Read: SC pulls up Delhi govt over garbage disposal systems amid bird flu scare

An avian influenza scare engulfed the city when authorities closed the zoo for public after announcing that at least 10 migratory birds have died since October 14, followed by deaths at a water body abutting the popular Deer Park in south Delhi.

A senior animal husbandry department official said officials have been asked to spray a four-foot layer of lime powder around water bodies along with sodium hypochlorite, which acts as an anti-virus.

“We did it at the Hauz Khas Deer Park and it is working. Officials are asked to put multivitamins in the bird feed,” he said.

Delhi zoo has not reported any fresh deaths. It will remain closed, though.

“Zoo employees are being tested. They have been given Tamiflu tablets and vaccination as a precaution. Experts from the National Institute of Virology in Pune visited the zoo on Monday and took samples,” an official said.

The municipal corporations have been asked to form 12 rapid response teams. These will be trained on Tuesday and deployed at vulnerable points.

Read: Bird flu alert in Delhi: Is the chicken we eat safe or not?