Bird flu confirmed in Delhi; sale of processed, packaged chicken from outside city banned

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New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) Testing of samples of crows and ducks confirmed bird flu cases in the national capital on Monday, prompting the city government to impose a ban on sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city.

'Only samples of ducks from Sanjay Lake have tested positive for bird flu. There is no cause for concern. Reports of other samples are awaited,' Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, asking people not to panic as there is no cause for concern.

However, officials said eight samples from three areas in Delhi, sent to a Bhopal-based laboratory, tested positive for avian influenza.

All eight samples -- four from a park in Mayur Vihar Phase 3, three from Sanjay Lake and one from Dwarka -- have been found positive for avian influenza, said Dr Rakesh Singh from the Animal Husbandry Unit of the Delhi government's Development Department.

A drive to cull ducks has begun at the famous Sanjay Lake, where several ducks were found dead in the last few days, Singh added.

Seventeen more ducks were found dead at Sanjay Lake on Sunday, prompting authorities to declare it an 'alert zone'.

Besides, officials said, 91 crows have been found dead in 14 DDA parks in the last couple of days.

A few days ago, around 50 crows were found dead in Central Park, Mayur Vihar Phase 3.

In a press briefing, Sisodia said results of 100 samples that have been sent to a Jalandhar lab are awaited.

He said Sanjay Lake area was sanitised after the samples of ducks from there tested positive for bird flu.

The Delhi government has also decided banning the sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city as a precautionary measure, he said.

'Also, there is a ban on selling packaged chicken or processed chicken from outside to Delhi to prevent infection from one state to another. But there is no need to panic about bird flu. It is a common influenza,' he said.

People who eat chicken and eggs should also not panic as there is no risk of infection from fully cooked chicken or boiled and cooked eggs, the deputy CM said.

The Delhi government is making all efforts to check the spread of bird flu and is monitoring the situation, he said.

'Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is closely monitoring the avian flu situation and is getting updates from the officials concerned. There is no reason to worry about bird flu in Delhi,' Sisodia said.

'Processed chicken and livestock from other states have been banned as a precautionary measure. Ghazipur poultry market has also been closed down for 10 days due to bird flu,' he said.

Three other recreational parks in Delhi -- Hauz Khas Park, Dwarka Sector 9 Park, Hastsal Park -- were closed on Saturday.

Barring Hastsal Park and Sanjay Lake, other parks were reopened after disinfection on Sunday, the officials said.

Hauz Khas Park in south Delhi has a huge water body and attracts a large crowd every day. However, no death of birds has been reported there.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said officials have been advised to enhance surveillance and undertake requisite measures for control and containment of the avian influenza in strict adherence with the action plan for preparedness, control and containment issued by the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

People are advised to maintain caution and reach out to help line # 011-23890318, in case of need of any assistance, he said.

Meanwhile, officials from the Delhi Development Authority said samples taken from two crows found dead recently at a DDA park in Dwarka here have tested positive for avian influenza.

The park is located in Dwarka Sector 9.

The New Delhi Municipal Council has also formed a rapid response team to conduct field inspection for examining various birds in its areas in the wake of a bird flu outbreak in the national capital.

NDMC areas are home to the high and mighty of the country, including Union ministers and parliamentarians besides many top industrialists. Parliament House, offices of all the ministries, Supreme Court and residence of Supreme Court judges, senior bureaucrats and senior military officers are in NDMC areas. PTI GVS KND VIT GJS AAR AAR