Three more birds died in Delhi on Friday, two at Shakti Sthal and one at Paschim Vihar DDA Park, taking the toll due to suspected bird flu to 73.
“We have shut down the park at Paschim Vihar in west Delhi after the report of two dead ducks there came. Another duck died at Shakti Sthal but it was already sick for a couple of days,” a Delhi animal husbandry department official told HT.
Delhi development minister Gopal Rai also met the coordination committee, formed to combat bird flu, to discuss the measures to be taken by the government.
“The minister has asked all agencies having any water bodies under their jurisdiction to maintain strict vigil. Action will be taken if there is any lapse on their part,” the official said.
All government departments have been asked to spread lime powder around every water body. Officials are also spraying anti-virus sodium hypochlorite on birds where they usually gather.
Delhi zoo, Hauz Khas district park and Shakti Sthal are already shut down. A government official had told on Thursday that it will take at least 45 days to declare the zoo as completely safe and before it can be opened for visitors.
“After the deaths stop, every 15 days tests will be done and the zoo won’t be reopened until we are completely sure that it is virus-free. This may take up to three months,” the official said.
A total of 12 water birds, including painted storks, ducks and pelicans died of H5 avian influenza on its premises since October 14. A team of Central Zoo Authority is stationed at the zoo to monitor the situation.
A team of scientists from National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune have already visited the Delhi zoo and collected samples, sensitised and trained zoo staff about bio-security measures against avian influenza. Now they will conduct a genome study to ascertain the cause and origin of this H5N8 virus.
Those who are handling dead birds are being given tamiflu vaccine. Spots where migratory birds come are also being closely monitored.
Test results have come back as “negative” from samples sent from poultry at Ghazipur chicken mandi. The Delhi government had on Monday issued an 11-point health advisory which asked people to avoid direct contact with bird secretions and carcasses, consume only completely cooked chicken and not to consume uncooked or half cooked chicken or half boiled or half fried eggs.