Friday November 22, 2019

City authorities close Park in the heart of New Delhi after 8 Birds die of suspected Bird Flu

The zoo was closed to the public Tuesday after autopsies confirmed at least three birds had died from H5N1 avian influenza

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India Avian Flu: A peacock crosses a pathway as a park worker rides a bicycle inside the closed Deer park in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. VOA

City authorities have closed a sprawling park in the heart of New Delhi after eight birds died of suspected bird flu, days after the city zoo was closed to the public after nine birds died there.

New Delhi’s Development Minister Gopal Rai said Friday that eight bird deaths were reported to city authorities on Thursday. These included two more bird deaths in the Delhi Zoo and two dead birds found in the Hauz Khas Deer Park.

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City officials said three dead crows were also found in a residential neighbourhood near the zoo. Autopsies were planned on all the dead birds.

The zoo was closed to the public Tuesday after autopsies confirmed at least three birds had died from H5N1 avian influenza.

Rai said autopsy results of the birds that died Thursday were not known yet but the government was taking the precaution of closing the park.

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H5N1 poses no apparent threat to humans, but highly pathogenic strains can be deadly to domestic poultry and, rarely, wild birds.

Delhi’s Hauz Khas Deer Park is home to hundreds of deer, peacocks and other birds. Described as one of the few “green lungs” of the highly polluted capital, the park is popular with joggers and walkers.

At this time of the year, bird sanctuaries, wildlife parks and water bodies around northern India are crowded with migratory birds flying south for the winter.

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Rai said vacations had been canceled for all employees of the city’s animal husbandry department in case more dead birds are found.

Animal health officials visited the capital’s main poultry markets and took samples from different batches of chickens brought for sale.

“We are closely monitoring bird sanctuaries, poultry farms and chicken wholesale markets,” Rai said.

Meanwhile, 15 storks have died over the past three days in a zoo in the central Indian city of Gwalior. Zoo official Pradeep Srivastava said zoo authorities were waiting for the autopsy reports on the painted storks to determine if avian influenza was present before deciding whether or not to shut the zoo.

  • Ruchika Kumari

    Hope the situation comes under control soon

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All about Nipah Virus: How is it Different from Swine Flu and Bird Flu?

The human Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a zoonotic disease which was first recognised in a large outbreak

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The studies have contributed to more accurate figures of drug use globally. Pixabay

With the return of the Nipah infection in Kerala, the need for awareness about zoonotic diseases has increased, especially in view of the spread of misinformation about these diseases.

Doctors say that the symptoms of Nipah infection, swine flu and bird flu are similar, but there are also differences in how the diseases impact people and also in their treatment.

“The basic difference between the Nipah virus and swine flu is that for swine flu drugs and vaccines are available whereas for Nipah there is no treatment or anti viral medication,” Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute in New Delhi told IANS.

According to the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the human Nipah virus (NiV) infection is a zoonotic disease which was first recognised in a large outbreak of 276 reported cases in Malaysia and Singapore from September 1998 to May 1999.

Nipah Virus, Swine Flu, Bird Flu
With the return of the Nipah infection in Kerala, the need for awareness about zoonotic diseases has increased. Wikimedia Commons

In India, during 2001 and 2007 two outbreaks in humans were reported from West Bengal. But in 2018 and 2019, it has affected mainly Kerala.

“The symptoms of Nipah infection are like flu symptoms — cough, fever, headache, bodyache, cold and then breathlessness later on,” said M S Chaudhary, Senior Consultant, Internal medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

“Usually it is the bats which spread Nipah virus. Either one eats bat-infected food, or has close contact with an infected person. So the paramedical staff, very close relatives and all are at risk of contracting the virus,” Chaudhary added.

While Nipah is classified as a ‘zoonotic’ disease – those that spread from animals to humans — once a human is infected then it is contagious for other people, said Sharma, adding that Nipah virus can also infect pigs.

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The Nipah virus affects the respiratory and nervous system and patients may experience respiratory failure or neurological failure. But swine flu usually does not lead to neurological problems, Chaudhary said.

Swine flu was pandemic in 2009 worldwide. Since then there have been sporadic occurrences. So swine flu can spread to any region.

“It can spread from human to human. It is also seen in pigs. It is a variant of pig influenza virus,” Sharma said.

“Symptoms of bird flu are also similar. Bird flu also spreads by infected birds which infect the food and the infection is passed onto humans. There are not too many regions affected by bird flu virus,” Chaudhary said.

Nipah Virus, Swine Flu, Bird Flu
Doctors say that the symptoms of Nipah infection, swine flu and bird flu are similar, but there are also differences in how the diseases impact people and also in their treatment. Pixabay

“The basic thing is to avoid catching the infection. Hand washing and drying of hands is the key to ensure that the infection does not spread,” Sharma added.

In the current Nipah outbreak, a Kerala youth has tested positive for the virus, while three nurses who treated him, a friend and another person have been kept in isolation.

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A total of 311 people from Thrissur, Paravur in Ernakulam district, and Thodupuzha in Idukki are also under observation, according to Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja. (IANS)