Over 1,200 bird deaths reported in the last 15 days

Over 1,200 bird deaths have been reported in Delhi in the last 15 days amid the avian influenza situation here, officials said on Wednesday.

Of the 201 samples collected from various places in the national capital, 24 have tested positive for bird flu so far, the director of the animal husbandry unit of the Delhi government’s Development Department, Dr Rakesh Singh, told PTI.

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“A total of 1,216 bird deaths have been reported in Delhi since January 6. However, all the deaths cannot be attributed to bird flu. Cold stress is another major reason,” he said.

On Tuesday, authorities restricted the entry of public into the Red Fort till Friday after a sample of a dead crow tested positive for bird flu.

Around 15 crows were found dead in the premises of the Red Fort on January 10.

“Four cranes were found dead in the Delhi zoo a few days ago. Twelve samples were collected on Monday and sent to the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research for testing,” Singh said.

Authorities have not received the test results yet from the Bhopal-based lab.

On Saturday, samples from a dead owl in the Delhi zoo had tested positive for avian influenza.

Last week, municipal corporations in the city had imposed a temporary ban on sale and storage of poultry or processed chicken meat after samples taken from crows and ducks at parks and lakes in the national capital tested positive for bird flu.

Around 400 ducks were culled at Sanjay Lake on January 11.

The Delhi government had also banned the sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city and ordered the closure of the Ghazipur poultry market in east Delhi for 10 days.

However, the ban was lifted on Thursday after all the 100 samples taken from Ghazipur, Asia’s largest poultry market, tested negative.

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