Nepal faces one of the biggest bird-flu outbreaks

Kathmandu, Pokhra worst affected; repeat outbreak in a span of two weeks worries authorities

By Alok Gupta
Published: Thursday 01 August 2013

Nepal is facing one of the biggest bird-flu outbreaks ever. Officials of the country's ministry of health and population said Kathmandu and Pokhra are the worst affected areas. There is widespread fear that the flu might spread to neighbouring districts.

The government, on Thursday, imposed a blanket ban on sale and consumption of chicken meat and eggs with immediate effect. The H5N1 virus was detected by health workers after large scale deaths of birds in the poultry farms outside the national capital, Kathmandu, and in Pokhra.

Lakhan Lal Sah, director with the health ministry, told Down To Earth that situation is alarming. “We have ordered culling of birds. Our focus is to stop the spread of virus into other districts,” he said.
Kathmandu and Pokhra have over 400 registered poultry farms.
Similar bird flu outbreak was reported around a fortnight back. Government health workers had culled more than 250,000 birds to control the spread of virus.

The repeat of the outbreak has worried the health officials who are now focusing on enforcing the ban on sale, consumption and transportation of chickens.

According to Sah, a strict order has been given to maintain a strong vigil at the district borders of Kathmandu and Pokhra. Check points have been alerted to confiscate and cull birds that are being transported to other districts.
Teams have been rushed to poultry farms to cull the birds. The health department has also started spraying the area around the poultry farms to control the spread of virus.
Officials also informed that a compensation package is being prepared for affected poultry farms owners.


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