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All samples taken from Ghazipur chicken market test negative for bird flu: Official

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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) All the 100 samples taken from Asia's largest chicken market in Ghazipur have tested negative for bird flu, a senior official of the Delhi animal husbandry unit said on Thursday.

The results come three days after samples taken from crows and ducks at parks and lakes in the national capital tested positive for avian influenza.

This had led to the Delhi government on Monday banning the sale of processed and packaged chicken brought from outside the city and shutting the wholesale poultry market in east Delhi for 10 days as a precautionary measure.

The Ghazipur market located on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border is a key supplier of poultry products in the region. Chickens, geese, ducks and turkeys are among the poultry birds bred by farmers for their eggs and meat.

'Test results of 104 samples arrived on Wednesday evening. Of these, 100 samples were collected from 35 poultry birds in the Ghazipur market. All samples have tested negative for bird flu,' senior Animal Husbandry Unit officer Rakesh Singh said.

'It means there is no spread of avian influenza in poultry birds in Delhi,' he said.

However, bird flu is suspected in the remaining four samples of Heron birds taken from Hastsal Park, Singh said, adding that these samples have been sent from a Jalandhar-based lab to Bhopal for confirmation.

The official said that around 850 bird deaths have been reported from various parts of the city since January 6.

Officials had earlier said that 10 samples from three areas – Mayur Vihar Phase 3, Sanjay Lake and Dwarka Sector 9 – tested positive for avian influenza.

A drive to cull ducks was conducted on Monday at the famous Sanjay Lake, where several of these birds were found dead.

Civic authorities had on Wednesday imposed a temporary ban on sale and storage of poultry or processed chicken meat in view of the bird flu situation here.

The three municipal corporations of the city had warned establishments like restaurants and shops of strict action, including cancellation of their licence, if they fail to comply with the orders.

The New Delhi Municipal Council, which constitutes nearly five per cent of Delhi areas, however, has not issued any official order on the ban, but said they are following the directions issued by the Delhi government with respect to bird flu.

The government has not imposed any such ban similar to the one issued by all the three MCDs.

The ban came two days after Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Giriraj Singh said that there is no need to be scared and urged people to eat poultry items after cooking them properly at a particular temperature.

He had also said that eggs are safe to eat. PTI GVS ANB ANB