The Delhi Animal Husbandry Unit on Thursday confirmed that avian influenza was not found among poultry birds in the national Capital, reported PTI. All the 100 samples taken from the Ghazipur poultry market have tested negative for bird flu.
“Test results of 104 samples arrived on Wednesday evening,” Animal Husbandry Unit officer Rakesh Singh told the news agency. “Of these, 100 samples were collected from 35 poultry birds in the Ghazipur market. All samples have tested negative for bird flu. It means there is no spread of avian influenza in poultry birds in Delhi.”
Singh said bird flu was suspected in the remaining four samples of Heron birds that were taken from Hastsal Park. He added these four samples have been sent to Bhopal for confirmation.
After the test results came back negative, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he had directed authorities to open the poultry market and withdrew the orders to prohibiting sale of the meat. “Samples taken from poultry markets have tested negative with respect to Bird Flu,” he tweeted. “Have directed to open the poultry market and withdraw the orders to restrict trade and import of chicken stocks.”
The results for the poultry birds came three days after samples taken from crows and ducks in the national Capital tested positive for avian influenza. On January 9, the Ghazipur poultry market, Asia’s largest, was shut for 10 days as a precautionary measure.
On Wednesday, all the three civic bodies in Delhi – north, south and east – banned the sale of chicken in their respective regions after an outbreak of avian influenza in the national Capital. The municipal authorities also warned hotels and restaurants against serving poultry meat or egg-based dishes.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Delhi Health Department issued an advisory asking citizens to follow a set of dos and don’ts, including stopping the consumption of half-cooked chicken, half-boiled or half-fried eggs. The department, however, urged people not to panic.
The Centre has also tried to allay all fears and has said that it was safe to consume “properly cooked poultry products”. On Monday, Union Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh asked states not shut down poultry markets or restrict sale of eggs or broiler chicken meat in the wake of the avian influenza outbreak. He had said that unfounded rumours about poultry products could have a cascading impact on the rural economy. Since January 6, prices of broiler chicken have crashed from around Rs 82 to Rs 58 per kg in Maharashtra, Rs 94 to Rs 65 in Gujarat, and Rs 80 to Rs 70 in Tamil Nadu.
The bird flu outbreak has been confirmed in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has directed unaffected states to be on alert for unusual deaths among birds to contain the spread of the infection.