Avian flu outbreak leads to culling of over 10,000 birds in Nepal – UN agency

21 January 2009

Nepalese authorities have begun slaughtering thousands of poultry and disposing of their carcasses in response to an outbreak of bird flu in the south-eastern region of the country, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

Nepalese authorities have begun slaughtering thousands of poultry and disposing of their carcasses in response to an outbreak of bird flu in the south-eastern region of the country, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.

The Government officially declared the outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain on 16 January after samples of dead chickens collected in the Jhapa district earlier in the week were tested.

The culling of around 13,000 birds in Jhapa is part of the Government’s precautionary measures aimed at reducing the risk of an avian influenza epidemic after outbreaks in the bordering Indian states of West Bengal and Assam were reported in December.

With technical support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), authorities have declared districts bordering India as “High Risk Zones,” initiating active poultry surveillance and reinforcing quarantine posts at the four transit points, banning the import of poultry products and feeds from India, and disinfecting vehicles entering Nepal.

In other efforts to resist the spread of bird flu, the Ministry of Health and Population – with the support of WHO – trained the district’s health workers on rapid avian influenza containment and outbreak investigation last June and organized workshops on countering human infections.

WHO has provided essential supplies – including 15,000 Tamiflu capsules, personal protection kits, intensive care unit equipment and other medical and disinfection reagents – to prepare health workers in the region for cases of human infections.

 

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