Suspected cases of avian influenza at the Delhi zoo have prompted authorities to shut down its premises. According to zoo sources, around 8 water birds and a few ducks and pelicans were reported to have been affected by bird flu last week. "The zoo has been shut down until further notice. We have sent samples of a couple of dead ducks to Jalandhar and Mathura. We are awaiting the report," a zoo official said. These cases come a nearly month after India declared itself free from the highly contagious avian influenza (H5N1) or bird flu. The official claimed that the influenza will not affect humans and the shutting down of zoo premises was a precautionary measure. A team of Central Zoo Authority will shortly visit the premises of the zoo which houses around 40 pelicans and 20 ducks. The National Zoological Park has been battling with a spate of animal deaths since earlier this year.
Around 46 spotted deers were found dead at its premises in January. India had declared itself free from bird flu in September. In a statement, the Centre had also emphasised the need for "continued surveillance especially in the vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds". Bird flu affects mainly the domestic poultry. The disease spreads from infected birds to other winged creatures through contact with nasal and respiratory secretions and also due to contamination of feed and water.
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