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If birds are carriers of H5, it is a dangerous situation, say experts

If birds are carriers of H5, it is a dangerous situation, say experts
The death of nine migratory birds in Delhi Zoo has posed a danger of spreading the disease in several waterbodies located in Delhi and neighbouring states which host migratory birds during winter. According to bird watchers, if the migratory birds are carrying the virus, it’s highly alarming and the country is staring at a very difficult situation.  

“If the birds have got infection in Delhi Zoo, it’s a local issue and can be handled locally. But if those migratory birds were carriers of the virus, it is a very dangerous situation,” said Anand Arya, a bird watcher. 

He further added that it’s very difficult to identify which flock of the migratory birds carried the H5 virus. “It’s also very difficult to find out how many infected birds have landed in Delhi and how many landed in other areas,”  said Arya suggesting that the government issue advisory immediately to all the district magistrates in the country. The Delhi government on Wednesday constituted six monitoring teams and deployed them at various waterbodies in the city but the neighboring states are yet to initiate action so far. 

“I have reports that around 2,000 migratory birds landed in Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary near Gurgaon. Thousands of birds have already landed in Dadri, Okhla and other bird sanctuaries in the NCR,” added Arya. There are around 7.5 lakh waterbodies in the country that attract migratory birds. These birds start coming into India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia since mid September every year. 

Wing Commodore (Retd) Vijay Kumar Sethi who is also a member of Delhi Bird Group said: “There is almost no way to prevent the disease if migratory birds are carrying the virus. We will have to face a huge loss of birds in the coming days”. 

He further added that in case of poultry birds, culling is the only option but it’s also not possible in cases of migratory and wild birds. The bird watchers also cautioned for spread of the disease in indigenous birds through droppings of those infected. The bird droppings on grass, plant leaves and waterbodies may cause further infection in animals and even in human beings, said both the bird watchers and cautioned the government agencies to create public awareness and take precautionary measures. 
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