The Centre on Saturday added Uttar Pradesh to the list of states where the outbreak of bird flu or avian influenza has been confirmed. The total number of states affected states is now seven, including Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat.

Kanpur Zoological Park was closed for visitors for 15 days after the flu was confirmed in dead chicken four days ago, reported News18. The zoo has also ordered the killing of the birds present in all the enclosures till Sunday evening. Further, the sale of meat has been banned within a radius of 10 km from the zoo and the area up to one kilometer has been declared a containment zone.

In a statement on the status of the avian influenza, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying said that samples of dead birds, reported in Chattisgarh, Delhi and Maharashtra, have been sent for testing. The results are awaited.

Delhi government bans live import of birds

Meanwhile, the Delhi government on Saturday banned the import of live birds to the national Capital as a precautionary measure. “The Delhi government has taken two decisions today as a precautionary measure,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said during a virtual press conference. “One is to put a complete ban on the import of live birds from today [Saturday]...And second, the Ghazipur Poultry market in Delhi has been closed for 10 days.”

The chief minister confirmed that no cases of bird flu has yet been reported in the national Capital. “We have collected up to 104 samples till now and they have been sent to Jalandhar to be tested in a laboratory,” Kejriwal said. “There is no indication of bird flu in Delhi till now. We will get the laboratory reports by day after tomorrow. We shall take steps based on those reports.”

The Delhi government has also set up a hotline number – 23890318 – in the wake of a possible outbreak of the flu. Kejriwal said that Delhi was taking all steps as per Centre’s instruction. “Rapid Response Teams have been formed in all districts of Delhi,” the chief minister said. “Veterinary officers are conducting surveillance in all bird markers, wildlife establishments and water bodies.”

While no cases of the flu have been confirmed in Delhi, unusual death of birds were reported from different areas of the city. About 36 confirmed deaths were reported till Friday in Mayur Vihar Phase 3 and Uttam Nagar areas. In addition, at least 24 crows were found dead at a district park in south Delhi’s Jasola area in the past three days and 10 ducks died at the Sanjay Lake, according to NDTV. The lake, along with three recreational parks, has been closed.

Confirmed cases in 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh

A Madhya Pradesh government official said that bird flu cases have so far been confirmed in 13 districts of the state, and over 1,100 crows and other wild birds were found dead in 27 different districts since the outbreak began, reported PTI.

The official from the public relations department said that a poultry market was shut in Agar Malwa district after a bird flu case was reported from there. She added that the district administration has started culling and burying poultry birds based on Centre’s guidelines.

The flu was first found in samples of two out of the 50 crows in Indore’s Residency area on December 29, 2020.

Centre’s response

The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has urged unaffected states to keep a vigil on unusual deaths among birds to contain the spread of the infection. In a statement, the ministry had said that it has issued advisories to these states to contain the spread of the infection.

According to the Centre’s advisory, samples of migratory, dead birds should be collected with utmost caution and under scientific supervision. It added that surveillance should be extended to all wetlands and habitats that host migratory birds and areas with any possibility of interaction of migratory and poultry birds. The affected states have also been asked to send weekly reports to the ministry.