New Delhi: A dead owl in the Delhi zoo has been found to have been infected with bird flu, officials said on Saturday.Also Read - Bird Flu: After Samples Test Negative, Delhi Govt Lifts Ban on Sale, Import of Poultry Products
“The zoo witnessed the death of a brown fish owl in its captivity. Its cloacal, tracheal and ocular swabs were sent to the animal husbandry unit of the Delhi government for serological examination,” zoo Director Ramesh Pandey said. Also Read - No Bird Flu Detected in All 100 Poultry Samples Taken From Ghazipur Market in Delhi: Officials
The samples were found positive for H5N8 avian influenza virus under real time RT-PCR test done by ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Disease (NIHSAD), Bhopal, on Friday, he said. Also Read - Bird Flu: Over 11000 Birds Culled in Maharashtra; Delhi Bans Sale, Storage of Poultry Products | Key Points
As per protocols and guidelines issued by the Centre and the Delhi government, sanitisation and surveillance drills have been intensified in the zoo and all possible preventive measures are being taken, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change said in a statement.
Pandey said, “Birds in captivity have been isolated and are under consistent monitoring and care for their behaviour and health. Spray of lime, virkon-S and sodium hypochlorite and foot bath of potassium permanganate are being done on regular intervals every day.”
Chicken feed to raptors and entry of vehicles inside the zoo have already been stopped. Movement of staff is also being restricted and regulated in view of the bird flu outbreak.
The Delhi zoo has both captive and free-ranging birds, including local migratory waterfowls and waders, in its premises.
On Monday, samples taken from crows and ducks at parks and lakes in the national capital had tested positive for the avian influenza.
Pandey said that in case of any suspected death of birds in future, authorities will collect samples for test as per protocol.