With no bird deaths reported in the city for nearly a month, animal husbandry department officials say bird flu is nearly over in the city.
“The H5N8 avian influenza virus that has been responsible for around hundred bird deaths in the capital seems to be finally under control. The virus, which has been detected in samples of the dead birds across Delhi, is not fatal for human beings but could have resulted in massive bird fatality. However, there have been no suspected deaths reported in the past one month,” an official told HT.
Most quarantined spots — like Shakti Sthal near Raj Ghat, Hauz Khas deer park, district park in Paschim Vihar and a water body in Madipur — are expected to be opened soon after the Centre’s nod. Samples from carcasses collected from these areas had earlier tested positive for H5N8 avian influenza virus.
“We have already written to the Union government asking for its approval to reopen these four spots in the city which were quarantined in the wake of the bird flu scare last month. Since no deaths were reported from these spots for more than three weeks, we had written for permission to reopen them around 10 days back. We are expecting it to come in a couple of days,” the official said.
Once the deaths stopped, tests were done once every 15 days and these areas were recommended to be reopened, as officials were sure these were virus-free. However, the Delhi zoo, ground zero from where the first case of H5N8 was reported over a month-and-a-half ago, however, has not been included in the list of places which the government wishes to reopen. A heron death was reported from the zoo a fortnight ago, an official said.
As part of precautionary measures, all government departments have spread lime powder around every water body in their jurisdiction. Officials have also sprayed anti-virus sodium hypochlorite on birds while the staff, who were handling dead birds, were given tamiflu vaccine. Spots where migratory birds gather were also monitored very closely.