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Bird flu scare: Delhi government issues advisory, says don’t panic, eat properly cooked poultry products


New Delhi: The Health Department of Delhi government has issued an advisory in view of bird flu cases in the city, asking people not to panic and follow a set of dos and don’ts, including not consuming half-cooked chicken, half-boiled or half-fried eggs.

The advisory was issued late on Wednesday, days after several ducks at Sanjay Lake and a large number of crows across various city parks have been found dead in the last one week. The revenue department has deployed teams of volunteers at the city’s borders to prevent unauthorised entry of livestock and canned and processed chicken from outside.

The advisory issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) of Delhi on Wednesday stated, “H5N8 is highly pathogenic in birds but the pathogenicity in humans, as well as the likelihood of human infection with avian influenza (AH5N8) virus, is low.”

The health department, while issuing the dos and don’ts, asked people to observe precaution and not panic.

“Avoid contact and prevent exposure from sick-looking sluggish chicken. Avoid direct contact with bird secretions and droppings,” the advisory states, adding that bowls used for feeding birds, and their cages should be washed properly with soap or detergent. All slaughter waste must be disposed of properly, the DGHS authorities said.

The advisory also cautioned people to not touch dead birds with naked hands. If any bird is found dead, the control room should be informed at phone number 23890318.

“Eat only completely cooked eggs and poultry products cooked at 70 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes. Do not consume half-cooked chicken or bird or half-boiled and half-fried eggs,” the advisory said.

Do not keep raw poultry meat near cooked meat. Wash hands frequently at the time of handling raw poultry products. Take due care of personal hygiene and maintain cleanliness in the surrounding, it cautioned.

Reports of over 50 bird deaths were received on a helpline of the Delhi government’s animal husbandry unit, and 18 samples from different parts of the city were sent for avian flu testing on Tuesday, officials had said.

Testing of samples of crows and ducks had confirmed bird flu cases in the national capital on Monday, prompting the city government to impose a ban on sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city.

The Ghazipur poultry market has also been closed by authorities. 

Centre asks states not to ban the supply of poultry from other states

Amid the spread of bird flu in the ten states across the country, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (MFAHD) on Wednesday asked all the states not to ban the supply of poultry and poultry products from other states, stating that it would cause “negative impact” on the poultry industry.

Taking note that many states are banning poultry from other states, the MFAHD Ministry in a statement said this would add to the negative impact on the poultry industry, adding that the states were requested to reconsider such a decision.

This comes as cases of avian influenza have been confirmed in 10 states. “Further, cases of unnatural mortality of birds have been reported in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir and 4 districts of Jharkhand,” the release said.

“On January 12, 2021, a VC was organised under the chairmanship of Secretary, DAHD and was attended by representatives from 17 states. Through the meeting, states were advised to efficiently manage the spread of Avian Influenza in their respective states in accordance with the Action Plan 2021,” the release further said.

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