Pestilence watch: Culling ordered after H5N1 virus discovered in Nepal and India

Health workers in Nepal are to cull thousands of chickens following the discovery of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in the southeastern part of the Himalayan country. “We sent samples for investigation to London after chickens started to die of a mysterious disease in commercial poultry farms,” said Ram Krishna Khatiwada, of the government’s Directorate of Animal Health. “We have received the test reports today that confirms infection of bird flu in poultry farms in Khanar and Ithari of the Sunsari district.”

Bird flu has also been confirmed in the eastern hills of Panchathar district and the tea-producing area of Ilam, Katiwada told AFP, adding that surveillance of farms was to be stepped up and 4000 chickens would be killed in the affected areas. “There has not been infection to humans in the area so far. Some have complained of itching and vomiting but that is only panic. We will get the situation under control in one or two days.” Nepal’s first reported outbreak of bird flu in poultry was in January 2009 in the eastern part of the country. The virus reached the capital Kathmandu for the first time in December last year, with health workers culling hundreds of chickens and ducks. If it spreads to humans, bird flu can cause fever, cough, sore throat, pneumonia, respiratory disease and sometimes death. –News
India: In Odisha, about 20,000 birds have been culled in a farm of Central Poultry Development Organization (CPDO) at Bhubaneswar following detection of avian flu H5N1 virus. Culling operation will resume today in the CPDO farm and the rapid response teams formed for the culling operation plans to cull rest of the 9,000 birds in the farm. AIR correspondent reports a huge pit has been dug to bury the culled birds and elaborate arrangements have been made for disinfecting the area. Five more rapid response teams have been engaged for creating awareness among the people in Bhubaneswar. The culling operation was launched after the Odisha government received an advisory from the Centre to eliminate poultry birds at the CPDO farm and three km radius area around it. The culling operation in other areas of Bhubaneswar is likely to be completed in five to six days. The H5N1 virus was reported at the farm after culling took place at Keranga in Khordha district and Betanati in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha last month. CPDO had sent samples to the High Security Animal Disease Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal, which confirmed the detection of bird flu virus. –News on Air


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