Bird flu: Authorities on alert in UP; Kanpur zoo closed for public

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Lucknow, Jan 10 (PTI) Amid an avian influenza scare in various states, officials in Uttar Pradesh have sounded a bird-flu alert, with the Kanpur Zoological Park being closed for the public till further orders and the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden in Lucknow opting for preventive measures.

The Kanpur Zoological Park has been closed for visitors till further orders, after the samples taken from two dead birds found there tested positive for the avian influenza virus, an official said on Sunday.

The area within a one-kilometre radius of the zoo has been declared an infected zone and culling of birds has begun there, Additional District Magistrate (City) of Kanpur Atul Kumar said.

'Four fowls and two parrots were found dead in the zoo in the last five days and the samples of two have tested positive (for bird flu),' he said.

Kumar said the samples of the dead birds were sent to the animal disease laboratory in Bhopal, which confirmed the presence of the H-5 strain of bird flu in those.

'The zoo has been closed for visitors and morning walkers. The hospital enclosure where the infected birds were placed has also been shut down,' he said.

A 10-kilometre area around the zoo has been cordoned off and declared a containment zone for an indefinite period by authorities and the shops selling chicken and eggs there have been asked to down shutters, an official said.

'We have imposed an indefinite ban on the transportation and entry of poultry products, including live birds and unprocessed poultry meat, in the district as a precautionary measure,' District Magistrate Alok Tiwari said.

Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) has been clamped to curb the spread of bird flu in the district, Kumar said.

The process of disinfecting all poultry farms within the one-kilometre radius of the zoo has started and teams have been formed to inspect shops selling raw chicken and mutton, he added.

Strict instructions have also been issued to make adequate arrangements for the disposal of dead birds, the official said.

Meanwhile, in Lucknow, Director of the Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden RK Singh said, 'No case (of bird flu) has been reported here, yet we are taking all preventive measures. The virus spreads from the excreta of migratory birds and our effort is to ensure that it does not come here.' Bottles containing a solution of potassium permanganate have been kept at the gates of the zoo so that the visitors enter the premises disinfected, he said.

'We are maintaining a watch on the birds' enclosure. If any unusual behaviour is seen in any bird, it will be taken to the isolation ward,' Singh added.

In Bareilly, arrangements to provide drinking water to migratory birds have been shut and reflectors are being installed at the Central Avian Research Institute (CARI).

'In order to ensure that migratory birds do not enter the CARI campus through the aerial route, reflectors are being installed on a war footing. The lower branches of the trees on the roadside have been cut so that the birds do not drop their excreta on the road,' Acting Director of the institute Sanjeev Kumar said.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed officials on Friday to remain alert in view of the bird-flu cases reported from various parts of the country.

The chief minister directed the Prayagraj Mela Pradhikaran to make people aware of the matter and also asked the Magh Mela authority to publicise that the pilgrims should not feed the birds.

In Amethi, six crows were found dead under mysterious circumstances in the Sangrampur area.

Chief Veterinary Officer of the district Dr MP Singh said the crows were found dead at different places of Kaiti village in the Sangrampur police station area. A team of doctors, along with forest officers, is being sent to the village and the samples of the dead birds will be sent for testing, he added.

Singh said till the test reports are out, nothing could be said with certainty about bird flu.

Over 1,200 birds were found dead across the country on Saturday, including 900 in a poultry farm in Maharashtra, with the Centre saying the outbreak of avian influenza has been reported in Uttar Pradesh, taking the number of affected states to seven.

Besides Uttar Pradesh, the other six states are Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Gujarat. PTI NAV/CORR RC