Bird flu has not spread among poultry birds in the capital as all 100 samples taken from the wholesale poultry market East Delhi’s Ghazipur have tested negative, Delhi government officials said on Thursday. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has now issued directions to reopen the market.
In a tweet, Kejriwal said: “Samples taken from poultry markets have tested negative with respect to bird flu. Have directed to open the poultry market and withdraw orders to restrict trade & import of chicken stock.”
Results of samples taken from 35 birds at the market came on Wednesday evening, after the three municipal corporations imposed a ban on sale and storage of poultry products, including processed and packaged chicken meat. The ban was revoked on Thursday.
Rakesh Singh, senior Animal Husbandry Department officer of the Delhi government, said, “Ghazipur is the only licensed poultry market in Delhi from where meat is taken by retailers. All 100 samples taken from here have tested negative for bird flu. Based on this, it can be said that avian influenza has not spread in poultry birds in Delhi.”
Singh also said there is less chance of the virus spreading from other birds to poultry: “Poultry birds are taken from the market by retailers in a short duration of 2-4 hours, and more new birds come in…. Their chance of contact with other birds is less because such birds do not come into a market area where there is generally a lot of activity.”
However, the virus has been confirmed in eight samples taken from other birds in the capital, including ducks from Sanjay Lake and crows from Mayur Vihar Phase III and Dwarka, Singh said.
Officials said 850 bird mortalities, mostly of crows, have been reported in the city from January 6 until Thursday based on calls received on the bird flu helpline. However, officials said, not all of them can be connected to avian influenza and may also be due to cold stress.
Singh said four samples taken from heron birds in Hastsal Park in West Delhi were also suspected of having bird flu, based on the results received from Jalandhar-based Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. “These four samples have been sent to a Bhopal-based laboratory for confirmation,” he said, adding that a programme to prevent further spread of the virus in underway in the city, as part of which ducks at Sanjay Lake were culled.
He said 11 teams of the department have been collecting samples from areas where a large number of mortalities have been reported and at least five samples were collected on Thursday for testing.
It is suspected that the avian influenza virus would have spread in Delhi through ducks. Singh said, “Ducks are normally around water bodies where wild birds also come and the virus spreads this way.”
‘Teachers not to be deployed for bird flu duty’
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Thursday issued an order against deploying teachers on the field to perform checks against bird flu. “Teachers are not meant for this kind of duty… Moreover, for class X and XII, the government has already announced special practical classes from Monday… It is, therefore, directed that no deployment of teachers is permitted for duties related to prevention of ingress of avian influenza… ,” Sisodia wrote. The teachers had earlier called the Revenue Department order assigning them the duty as “harassment”.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines