Flu kills six more birds in Delhi, toll is 64

New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS) At least six more birds died here on Monday due to bird flu, taking the total deaths of migratory birds from the disease to 64, Delhi Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai said.

Rai, however, also said the anti-virus operation in the Deer Park in south Delhi was showing results as only two bird deaths were reported there on Monday.

As many as 17 birds died in the Deer Park on Saturday and 10 on Sunday. The first bird deaths were reported from Delhi Zoo, which, like the Deer Park, has since been shut.

The deaths of four other birds on Monday were reported from a lake behind Shakti Sthal, the memorial to Indira Gandhi, Rai said.

“We have started close monitoring of the lake along with other locations,” he added.

Rai said the second report from the central lab in Bhopal, where bird samples were being sent, has arrived.

“Infection of H5N8 avian influenza has been confirmed from the two samples. These samples were taken from dead birds found in Deer Park and Sundar Nagar (near the zoo) last week,” Rai said.

Earlier, the same lab had confirmed H5N8 virus infection in the sample collected from Delhi Zoo.

“With bird deaths being reported from more locations, there is need to increase vigilance,” Rai said.

He issued a health advisory with a detailed list of do’s and don’ts.

These include one to avoid eating of raw or half-boiled eggs and meat.

Rai on Monday met the coordination committee in the Delhi Secretariat to consider further action on checking the spread of H5N8 influenza virus.

He ordered all government departments to spread “chuna” (lime powder) around every water body.

The minister also ordered them to spray anti-virus Sodium Hypochlorite around all water bodies where birds gather.

Rai said he will meet Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Tuesday evening.

“We have consistently been sending bird and water samples to the central lab in Bhopal. But it is taking a lot of time for reports to arrive.

“I will request the union minister to direct the lab authorities to send the reports at the earliest.”