The Hauz Khas lake inside the Deer Park was shut down Thursday after five ducks were found dead, amid a bird flu scare. A notice on the park’s main gate stated that the lake would be shut to visitors till October 25.
On Tuesday, the Delhi zoo had been shut down after eight water birds died mysteriously, and three of the deaths were later confirmed to be due to bird flu.
However, the Delhi government said it had adequate stocks of Tamiflu antivirus to tackle a possible outbreak, though there was no immediate threat to human beings.
The total number of bird deaths has gone up to 20, said a senior official in the animal husbandry department.
“… There have been 12 deaths in the zoo, and five ducks in Deer Park lake and three crows in Sundar Nagar have died from suspected H5 avian influenza. So far, three samples have tested positive for bird flu while the results of the other tests are pending,” said a government official.
The government has deployed six rapid response teams to monitor cases of bird flu, said Development Minister Gopal Rai Thursday.
“We have deployed the six teams at the Okhla bird sanctuary, Hauz Khas, Ghazipur chicken mandi, Yamuna biodiversity park, Najafgarh nullah and the zoo. Responses on our helpline revealed that three birds have died in the Deer Park lake, two in Sundar Nagar and two more in the zoo, besides the 10 reported deaths in the zoo till Wednesday evening. The teams have collected 50 samples, of them 20 from the zoo and nine from Ghazipur chicken mandi, and sent them to Jalandhar for testing. We will get the reports Saturday, on the basis of which we will be able to conduct a detailed analysis. We are shutting down the Hauz Khas lake till we get the test results,” said Rai.
“We have discussed measures needed to tackle bird flu, in the event of an outbreak, with the health department. The department assured us that there is adequate stock of Tamiflu, the antivirus needed to treat persons infected with the flu… we will also inspect chicken mandis and the Hauz Khas lake Friday. The leave of all doctors and staffers with the animal husbandry department has been cancelled…,” said the minister.
“There is no real threat to human beings as of now,” he said.
The Delhi government has also urged the municipal corporations to keep 10 reserve teams on stand-by.