Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nepal: Problems Containing Bird Flu

 

 

# 4429

 

 

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Nestled as it is between two nations with a history of outbreaks of bird flu (India and China), and separated by but a few kilometers from Banglashesh – another H5N1 hotspot – it isn’t surprising that Nepal finds itself in a battle against the H5N1 virus as well.

 

Officially,  bird flu arrived in Nepal a little over a year ago (see Nepal Faces Challenges Combating Their First Bird Flu Outbreak), although there had been several `scares’ before that.  After a flurry of stories in January and February of 2009, reports of bird flu in Nepal dried up in March, and we heard little again until about six weeks ago (see Nepal: H5N1 In Poultry).

 

Today the Himalayan Times has an article on the spread of bird flu in Parasi, and allegations of cover ups by the government and a slow chaotic response to the threat.  Charges that are not dissimilar to some that were levied during the 2009 outbreak.

 

As noted last month, these new outbreaks are being reported in central Nepal, not the Eastern regions as they were last year.

 

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Location of Parasi, Nepal

 

This lengthy report from the Himalayan Times.

 

 

Bird flu spreading fast in Parasi

Last Updated : 2010-03-13 11:58 PM

  • Tika R Pradhan

KATHMANDU: The government has been keeping the public in the dark despite the outbreak of bird flu in different parts of the country on the rise, it was learnt today.

 

Around 500 backyard birds have died in Jhyalbas and Deurali VDCs of Nawalparasi district in the past few weeks.

 

Following the outbreak, a team of veterinarians led by senior officer at the Animal Health Directorate (AHD), Dr Narayan Prasad Ghimire, was sent to the VDCs for a stamping out operation following verbal orders from Dr Ram Krishna Khatiwada, the programme director, AHD,yesterday.

 

The team comprised Dr Dayaram Chapagain of Department of Livestock Service (DLS), Chitwan, Dr Laxman Bahadur Dhakal, Chief of DLS Nawalparasi, Dr Damodar Neupane and a technician from the National Avian Laboratory, Chitwan.

 

However, the team had to return from the VDCs without any job done as they failed to receive a written order from the Department of Livestock Services (DLS) to carry out the same. It is learnt that Dr Khatiwada had assured the team members of the written order from the centre. However, in the last hour, Dr Khatiwada directed the members to return.

 

Dr Khatiwada said that the report of the sample was not ready. “It might come by Sunday evening,” he said.

 

When asked about the team sent to the site, he said that was for the diagnosis and to make preparation for culling if the result was found to be positive. “We need to prepare for several things including financial matters before culling the birds in order to maintain international norms,” he said.

 

One of the team members said the condition in those areas was ‘horrible’ as more birds are being infected and dying fast.
Sources said the birds of local resident Bal Bahadur Bakwal (Magar) of Jhyalbas tested positive for H5N1 virus in the central veterinary laboratory, Tripureswor.

 

However, the authorities are reluctant to reveal the truth. As per the Bird Flu Control Order- 2064 BS, the government needs to declare “Crisis Zone” after a sample tests positive for H5N1 Avian virus either in the Central Veterinary Laboratory, Tripureswor or in any of the World Organisation for Animal Health reference laboratory. Nepal used to send the samples to the reference laboratory in Waybridge, London, for confirmation.

 

The government had earlier failed to declare the outbreak in Budhabare-Jhapa, Chainpur-8 in Chitwan, Buddhanagar in Rupandehi and Fultekra in Nepalgunj on time.

 

It may be noted that the authorities had revealed the outbreak only after The Himalayan Times reported that the government had been keeping the public in the dark.

 

Nepal Veterinary Association (NVA), Chitwan chapter, has condemned such act of the government and the DLS.

 

In a statement, the Chitwan chapter of NVA said that the department is being run in an “unethical manner” and at the cost of public health.

 

The government is once again trying to hide the outbreak of Bird flu in Nawalparasi district.

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