Kanpur Zoological Park closed after two samples test positive for bird flu

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Lucknow, Jan 10 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh authorities on Sunday closed the Kanpur Zoological Park after a number of birds were found dead there and two samples tested positive for bird flu.

Meanwhile, the district authorities launched a drive under which close to 50 birds were culled on Sunday.

'The move comes after samples of a couple of birds in the Kanpur zoo tested positive for the avian influenza virus on Saturday. The drive (to cull birds) will continue on Monday to complete the task,' said District Forest Officer (DFO) Arvind Yadav.

The DFO said eight birds, including seven red jungle fowls, have been culled inside the zoo and buried as per the guidelines of the government.

These birds came into contact with infected ones and were showing symptoms, the DFO added.

Besides, 41 other poultry birds which were showing symptoms of bird flu have been culled too within the one kilometre radius of the zoo, he said.

Several teams have been constituted for the drive and to maintain surveillance in the containment zone, the DFO said, adding it has also been decided to create awareness among locals and tell them that there is no reason to panic as the chances of bird flu infecting a human are very remote.

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

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 tested positive,' he said.

Kumar said the samples were sent to a laboratory in Bhopal, which confirmed the presence of the H5 strain of bird flu.

'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 the 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, 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.

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

Meanwhile, in Lucknow, Director of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden RK Singh said, 'No case 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.' Solution of potassium permanganate has 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. 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. 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.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath too had directed officials on Friday to remain alert in view of the bird-flu cases reported from 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 birds. PTI NAV/CORR RDK RDK