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Centre forms panel to monitor bird flu (Relevant for GS Prelims, Mains Paper III)

Committee constituted to monitor bird flu break outs
The Central Government has formed a three-member committee to keep a close watch on the bird flu situation with 24 deaths being reported due to the virus, including 11 ducks at the Hauz Khas Deer Park in the Capital.

The move comes even as the Delhi government maintained that there was no threat to human beings from the bird flu scare.

A new Bird Flu virus detected
The Central Government’s Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries added that a new bird flu virus subtype, H5N8 (earlier virus type H5N1), which is even more dangerous, had been confirmed in samples from the Gandhi Zoological Park in Gwalior.

An official stated H5N8 is not known to cause harm to human beings. There is also no threat if a person eats properly cooked chicken, as the virus cannot survive high temperature.

Preventive measures being sought
1. Constant vigil being observed by Government agencies in & around National Zoological Park to monitor & contain H5 Avian Influenza in co-ordination with State level Agencies. 

2. It also asked the Environment Ministry to issue advisories to all wildlife/bird sanctuaries in the country. 

3. In view of transportation of poultry and related products between Rajasthan and Delhi, the Rajasthan government has asked field officers to take “precautionary measures” to check its likely outbreak in the State.

4. Previously, the Delhi government shut down the Hauz Khas Deer Park amid bird flu scare, and cancelled leaves of all officials of the Delhi Animal Husbandry Department.

5. The Delhi government had started a helpline number (011-2389 0318) where citizens could report cases of bird flu and seek help.



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