Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 21
Amid a growing bird flu scare in the national Capital, the government today ruled out any threat to humans from the current bird flu or avian influenza viral strain as it is “less infective” even as six more ducks were found dead today at now shut Deer Park.
With this, the cumulative death toll, suspected to be avian influenza deaths, has climbed to 24.
The Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in its report sent to the Delhi government confirmed that the strain was H5N8 and not H5N1, which is considered to be more dangerous by experts in terms of infection being passed on to humans from avians.
Development Minister Gopal Rai announced this based on the views of experts from Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Bareilly, Bhopal-based High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), after a meeting today also attended by Chief Secretary and officials from the departments concerned.
The minister said the government had written to the Animal Husbandry Ministers of UP, Haryana and Rajasthan on bird flu scare, seeking their cooperation in monitoring the situation.
Henceforth, the samples will be sent directly to Bhopal lab and till then 25 more samples of birds have been collected from Nizamuddin, Okhla, Ghazipur and Deer Park Hauz Khas.
“Among the samples of birds who died on October 14 and 15 at Delhi zoo, three were diagnosed with H5N8 avian influenza in Bhopal lab and not the H5N1 virus, which are more infective and may affect humans,” Rai said.
“The most dangerous is H5N1 and there was fear that it might have caused the deaths. The final report came last evening. Experts suggested that H5N8 is not harmful for human. This virus has also been found in US, Japan, Netherlands, China and other countries where H5N8 has not affected human,” Rai said.
The minister who inspected the Ghazipur chicken mandi today, noted that there had been no indication of avian virus infection in the 2.2 lakh chickens that arrived in the market since this morning.
“However, as a precaution, it has been made mandatory for trucks entering the market to have medical fitness certificate from Saturday and those not having it will be allowed with a warning, but from Sunday onwards no vehicles will be allowed to enter the Ghazipur market without the certificate,” Rai said.
Besides, as a preventive measure, arrangements will be there for a medicated subway at the entry gate in the market which will have medicines mixed with water and every truck entering the market will have to pass through this water which will help in preventing the infection from spreading, the minister said while noting there was nothing to panic as all measures were in place to deal with the any situation.
A 15-member monitoring committee has also been set up to enforce these measures at the market.
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