New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Delhi and Maharashtra on Monday confirmed bird flu after samples from dead crows and chickens tested positive for the avian flu in the two cities amid nationwide efforts to contain the outbreak.

In Maharashtra, the state officials said that over 800 chickens in Parbhani's Murumba village died in last three days and their blood samples sent to national laboratory confirmed the cause of death as avian flu.

"All birds in poultry farms within a one-kilometre radius of Muramba village will be culled. Sale and purchase of birds within a 10-km radius is suspended. All people in the village are being tested for the virus and a medical team is present," news agency ANI quoted Parbhani District Collector Deepak Mughlikar as saying.

Following this, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has called for a high-level meeting to discuss the current situation in the state.

Similarly, the Animal Husbandry Department in Delhi said that samples of eight dead crows and ducks have tested positive for avian flu in the national capital. Taking precautions, the authorities in Delhi have declared Delhi's Sanjay Lake as an 'alert zone'.

"Deaths of 17 more ducks were reported today at Sanjay Lake. A total of 27 ducks have died now. The park has been declared an alert zone by the rapid response team as per the directions of the animal husbandry department of the Delhi government," a senior DDA official was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.

So far, bird flu has been reported in nine states, including Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh. Amid this, the central government on Sunday said that it has directed zoo managements to submit daily reports to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) till their area is declared free from the disease.

The CZA, under the environment ministry, issued an office memorandum that said "avian influenza is a scheduled disease under the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, and reporting such a disease is obligatory for taking appropriate preventive measures against its spread".

What is bird flu and can it spread to humans?

Also known as 'avian flu', bird flu is similar to 'swine flu' and 'dog flu' which is caused by a virus among the birds. Experts believe that the Influenza Type-A variant of this virus is extremely dangerous.

According to experts, bird flu can transmit to humans but such instances are not pretty common. The first case of bird flu in humans was reported in Hong Kong in 1997 when 18 people were found infected with it.

What are the symptoms of bird flu?

Experts say that sneezing, sore throat, running nose, fever, fatigue, body pain and headaches are symptoms of bird flu.

What precautions can we take for bird flu?

According to experts, people should avoid consuming uncooked or partially cooked eggs and chicken. They say that a bird flu virus is also sensitive to heat and dies at over 70 degree Celsius.

"A large number of human infections with the H5N1 virus have been linked to the home slaughter and subsequent handling of diseased or dead birds prior to cooking. These practices represent the highest risk of human infection and are the most important to avoid," the world health organisation has said.

Experts also say that people should avoid direct contact with infected poultry as the virus can enter a human body through eyes, nose or mouth.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma