Delhi: Six samples from zoo test negative for avian flu
Six samples collected from Delhi zoo earlier this week tested negative for bird flu, officials said on Friday, days after a brown fish owl that was found dead in its enclosure, was diagnosed with a strain of the infection.
Ramesh Pandey, director, National Zoological Park in Delhi said that while the zoo has not reported any fresh case of the flu, safety protocols have not been relaxed.
“All six samples, including those of the four birds whose enclosures were close to the owl that died of the virus, returned negative on Thursday. However, safety, surveillance and sanitation work will continue, and all protocols and guidelines issued by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) of the Union ministry of environment forests and climate change and the animal husbandry department of the Delhi government, are being followed strictly,” Pandey said.
On January 15, samples from a brown fish owl found dead in its enclosure at the zoo, tested positive for H5N8 avian influenza. After this, swabs from birds in the zoo were sent to the state’s animal husbandry unit for serological examination. Samples from water bodies inside the zoo premises frequented by wild and migratory birds, along with bird droppings, were sent to be examined.
Officials from the Union environment ministry said they were keeping a close watch to ensure more bird flu cases are not reported from the Delhi zoo or any other part of the Capital.
“Zoo staff has been given special drapers and PPE. They are following our advisory, and are in constant touch with the animal husbandry ministry. The zoo is closed, so there is no fear of transmission to people,” said Soumitra Dasgupta, the ministry’s additional director-general.