NEW DELHI: In its first health advisory following bird flu cases in the capital, the Delhi government has asked people to refrain from consuming “half-cooked” chicken and chicken products, as well as “half-boiled or half-fried” eggs.

Six bird deaths were reported from two locations on Monday, including one which hadn’t previously seen any death. No case of infected poultry has come to light so far. “Four birds were found dead at a water body near Shakti Sthal, taking the total to 64,” said development minister Gopal Rai. Rai said the government had issued an 11-point ad visory for the public.”We would request people to call on our helpline if they see anything out of the ordinary ,” he said.

In all cases where avian flu has been confirmed, the central government laboratory has identified the H5N8 virus.The virus has possibly affected birds in other states as well, with at least six deaths of painted storks being reported from the Gwalior zoo on Monday . “For past three days, no deaths have been reported from the zoo. At Deer Park, 17 deaths were reported on Saturday and 10 on Sunday . On Monday , two more birds died in the park,” Rai said.

“We have stepped up the anti-virus operation in the park and have managed to bring the situation under control. Had DDA been more vigilant, we could have improved the situation there earlier. At the CPWD main tained lake behind Shakti Sthal, where four birds were reported dead on Monday , a team was dispatched immediately to look into the case. I will visit the spot on Tuesday ,” the minister said.

On Monday , a meeting was held with officials from the development, revenue, health and forest departments, the three municipal corporations, DDA, NDMC, Delhi zoo, CPWD, PWD and all agencies which have ownership of water bodies. An advisory has been issued for all agencies, asking them to sprinkle lime on a four-feet wide border along all water bodies and to spray birds with anti-virus sodium hypochloride. For those with domesticated birds, doctors have prescribed multivitamins in their feed.

Officials said many people were calling up the helpline being monitored by the animal husbandry department.To keep track of all calls, the corporations had set up 12 rapid response teams. “They will be trained by the department on Tuesday and sent into the field. Meanwhile, a team from Pune’s National Institute of Virology is in Delhi and taking samples from the zoo. I will also be meeting the Union agriculture minister on Tuesday to ensure that reports from the Bhopal lab are given to us on time so that we are prepared to take necessary action,” Rai said.



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