New Delhi: The deaths of over 50 crows over the past two days in Delhi has led to a fear that the bird flu or avian influenza might have reached the national capital.
Unusual mortality has been reported among poultry birds, crows and migratory birds in Kerala, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh so far.
The disease, caused by the H5N1 virus, spreads from bird to bird, and when several birds were reported dead in Mayur Vihar Phase 3 Friday, a team of doctors was sent to collect samples, Delhi’s Animal Husbandry Department Director Rakesh Singh confirmed to ThePrint.
“Seventeen crows were found dead in Mayur Vihar Friday and the doctors were sent to collect samples,” Singh said.
These samples will be sent to a laboratory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Saturday morning, and the reports are expected 72 hours after that, according to protocol.
Many parts of the city hit
Residents of Mayur Vihar, however, claimed that the number of dead birds was much higher than the 17 mentioned by the animal husbandry director. An RWA member in Mayur Vihar Extension said at least 40 crows were found dead over the past two days, along with two pigeons.
Clusters of dead birds have also been found in other parts of the city over the last few days — 16 in DDA Park, Sector 9, Dwarka Friday, as well as 20 in DDA Park, Hastsal, Uttam Nagar Wednesday. Samples from Uttam Nagar were sent to the Northern Region Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Jalandhar Thursday evening, while those from Dwarka will be sent to Bhopal with the ones from Mayur Vihar.
Steps being taken
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia held a meeting with the officials of the animal husbandry department Thursday to review the situation, and 11 rapid response teams were constituted in each district to be prepared to handle cases in case of an outbreak of bird flu.
“Our surveillance teams are keeping a strong vigil and in case any such case is brought to our notice, we are taking samples. Residents should not panic,” Rakesh Singh added.
The Delhi government had issued an alert to all doctors and passed a directive to monitor bird flu on 28 October 2020. On 4 January 2021, guidelines were issued to all doctors to continue their regular sample collection and strict monitoring. Apart from this, ducks’ health is being monitored in various water bodies.
The central government said Wednesday that the avian influenza outbreak has been reported at 12 epicentres in four states — Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Advisories have been issued to contain further spread of the infection in poultry ducks, crows and migratory birds, the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying said.
The secretary in the department of animal husbandry & dairying held a meeting with the states to understand the status of the outbreak of H5N1, and to suggest measures for control, containment and prevention of spread of the disease, according to an official statement.