Delhi, India- The Central Government of Delhi has created three-member committees to follow the cases of avian influenza found in the capital. Up to 24 birds have died from the virus, including 11 ducks at the Hauz Khas Deer Park in the city.

Neighboring states such as Rajasthan has been ordered to supervise birds health because a significant group of migratory birds traveled from that town to Delhi. Fortunately, the Delhi Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai stated that the virus found in the dead birds was the H5N8. Officials analyzed eight birds which died at the Delhi Zoo and discovered the virus in three of them. The H5N8 virus is not as dangerous as the H5N1 variation.

Culling begins as Bird flu resurfaces at Tripura, India. Image Credit: Costative

The Union Environment Ministry noted that India is on alert and supervising zoological parks and any sign of the avian influenza. The Minister, Anil Madhav said in a series of tweets that there is a constant supervision being carried by government agencies and national park officials to identify as quickly as possible the virus in birds.

The Delhi Zoo director Amitabh Agnihotri stated in a press conference Saturday that they have alerted other zoos across the country and have issued a list of things to do and not to do regarding H5 avian influenza. He added that the Delhi Zoo would be keeping an eye on the situation until they are satisfied with it. Hygiene practices have been reassessed to prevent any cross-infection.

The Central Government’s Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying, and Fisheries said that the avian influenza subtype H5N8 was found in samples collected at the Gandhi Zoological Park in Gwalior.

Minister Rai said that there is no need for panic since H5N8 is not associated with human deaths and added that people could significantly reduce any cross-infection if they consumed properly cooked poultry. The virus cannot survive high temperatures.

Zoos are not the only establishments that have to be alert to any signs of avian influenza. The Environment Ministry issued advisories to all wildlife that include bird sanctuaries in the country regarding the threat of avian influenza.

Delhi is not the only city that should be concerned about avian influenza

Because many migratory birds travel from Rajasthan to Delhi, the Indian government has also warned Rajasthan about avian influenza and its subtype H5N8. The alert was announced over the weekend and it asked authorities and the public as a whole to stay vigilant to any symptoms of the avian influenza in birds. People was encouraged to take precautionary measures to avoid spread the virus to other regions.

State Medical and Health Minister Rajendra Rathore has warned health officers to take special precautions in the districts such as Bharatpur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner because migratory birds arrive in significantly large groups to those areas.

The health of migratory birds will be in charge of the Keoladeo National Park, Tal Chhapar sanctuary, and Darrah wildlife sanctuary.

Given transportation, poultry and related products traveling from Rajasthan and Delhi, they will be checked to prevent any outbreak by government officials. 

Source: The Hindu