Avian deaths in the national capital today climbed to over 40 with 17 ducks being found dead at Hauz Khas deer park even as the Centre formed a three-member committee to keep a close watch on the bird flu situation. Authorities also sent seven bird carcasses collected from across the city for test after the control room received calls in this regard. The National Zoological Park, which did not report any fresh death, took reporters on a tour in its premises.
In wake of the fresh deaths, Development Minister Gopal Rai will visit the deer park tomorrow.
The Union Environment Ministry said a constant vigil is kept around the National Zoological Parks to monitor and contain the H5 avian influenza along with the state agencies and a three-member panel has been set up to keep a watch over the developments.
“There is no mortality reported in the National Zoological Park in Delhi. Seventeen ducks were found dead in the Central Park, Hauz Khas,” a Delhi government report said.
The city government widened its scan ambit by collecting samples from the Ghazipur chicken market which has not yet been hit.
While one one dead bird collected from the Hauz Khas park was sent to lab, eight samples were drawn from the Ghazipur poultry market from live birds. Seven carcasses of birds collected from across Delhi were sent separately.
“The DDA authorities have been advised to bury deep the carcasses as per the guidelines and take necessary disinfection process in Central Park Hauz Khas as mortality still continues. Disinfection process as per the guidelines of action plan has been undertaken in zoo and Ghazipur mandi,” the report added.
Gwalior District Collector Sanjay Goyal said analysis of samples collected from two of the around 15 painted storks that died in the zoological park in the district, revealed the avians were infected with a new bird flu virus subtype, H5N8.
Yesterday, the Delhi government had ruled out any threat to human beings due to the bird flu saying the H5N8 strain found in three samples was “less infective”. Six deaths were reported at the deer park in the national capital and the toll of suspected flu stood at 24.
Meanwhile, as a confidence-building measure, Delhi zoo opened its gates to the media and took reporters around the bird enclosures.
“The chances of the resident birds contracting the influenza are meek. So we are assuming that the migratory birds may have carried the pathogenic strains. However, we can be clear only when we get a word from Jalandhar and Bhopal where we have sent the samples,” zoo curator Riyaz Khan said.
On being asked about the Centre-appointed committee to monitor the situation, Khan said the panel is at present looking at the guidelines and measures to be adopted in case of such deaths.
Khan said no fresh deaths were reported at the zoo since the past two days. Twelve water birds, including 6 pelicans, painted storks and ducks have died at the zoo in the past week.