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Samples of dead cranes in Delhi zoo test negative for bird flu: Officials


NEW DELHI: All 12 samples of dead cranes in the Delhi zoo have tested negative for bird flu, authorities said on Friday, a week after the first case of avian influenza was detected in its premises.

"Four cranes were found dead in the Delhi zoo a few days ago. Twelve samples were collected on Monday and sent to National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) of Indian Council of Agricultural Research for testing, Bhopal," Dr.Rakesh Singh, the director of the animal husbandry unit of the Delhi government, said.

All the 12 samples have tested negative, he said.

Last week, samples from a dead owl in the Delhi zoo had tested positive for avian influenza.

Zoo Director Ramesh Pandey said they were following all protocols and monitoring the situation strictly.

"We have been using the ebird mobile application to keep track of the birds in the premises of the zoo," he said.

This is the first time the application is being used for bird monitoring and record keeping during the outbreak of avian influenza.

The application allows the user to enter sightings from anywhere in the world, even in areas with no cell service, or Internet access.

Singh said that 1,338 bird deaths have been reported in Delhi between January 6 and January 21 amid the bird flu situation.

Of the 207 samples collected from various places in the national capital, 24 have tested positive for avian influenza so far, he said.

On Tuesday, authorities restricted the entry of public into the Red Fort till Friday after a sample of a dead crow tested positive for bird flu.

Around 15 crows were found dead in the premises of the Red Fort on January 10.

Last week, municipal corporations in the city had imposed a temporary ban on sale and storage of poultry or processed chicken meat after samples taken from crows and ducks at parks and lakes in the national capital tested positive for bird flu.

Around 400 ducks were culled at Sanjay Lake on January 11.

The Delhi government had also banned the sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city and ordered the closure of the Ghazipur poultry market in east Delhi for 10 days.

However, the ban was lifted on Thursday after all the 100 samples taken from Ghazipur, Asia's largest poultry market, tested negative.