Bird flu scare: H5N8 virus no threat to humans, assures Gopal Rai

Migratory birds over the Yamuna in January 2015

"A team comprising three vets from the zoo and two specialists from the state animal resources development department collected around 40 samples of blood and bird droppings from the zoo".

"We have sent samples of the dead ducks to a laboratory in Bhopal", he said.

Mr Rai said results of tests on the birds which died on Thursday were not yet known but the government was taking the precautionary step of closing the park.

On Friday, the Delhi government had ruled out any threat to human beings due to the bird flu saying the H5N8 strain found in three samples was "less infective".

"Till now, no human infections with H5N8 has been established anywhere in the world". Meanwhile, the Delhi government reported six more bird deaths in the Central Park, Hauz Khas, taking the count to 17.

Rai today chaired a meeting with Chief Secretary and officials from departments concerned over the situation.

On Friday, he visited the Ghazipur market for an inspection and said that while no case of avian influenza had been reported from there, precautions were being taken to ensure that the birds were not infected.

The Centre Saturday formed a three-member committee to monitor the bird flu situation after 24 birds were found dead in the capital.

The Centre, on Friday, issued guidelines for state governments and zoo officials for "control and containment" of bird flu, or avian influenza, media reported. "But the final report has concluded that it is H1N8 virus", Rai said.

"We talked to medical experts and they said that while H5N1 has been found to infect humans, no such reports have come regarding H1N8".

A team of veterinary doctors start collecting blood samples and droppings of birds from Alipore Zoo in Kolkata.

"We are closely monitoring bird sanctuaries, poultry farms and chicken wholesale markets", Rai said.

"After production of the certificate, such vehicles will be allowed by market officials to enter".

Both the Delhi zoo and the Deer Park will remain shut until normalcy returns. "We have also chose to form a 15-member team consisting of five officials each from government, market and traders' wing who will closely monitor the consignment of the chicken inside the market", Mr Rai said.



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