Nepal issues high alert against bird flu

Kathmandu: Nepal government has issued high alert against bird flu after receiving confirmed reports of `Avian Influenza` in dozens of chickens in Manahara river area of Bhakatapur district in the eastern part of Kathmandu valley.

After some 90 birds died over the period of 2-3 days in a poultry farm in Manahara, the government had conducted tests on the birds which confirmed presence of bird flu, according to officials at the Department of Epidemiology under Health Ministry. Some 500 birds including 250 ducks and 75 chickens were killed and dozens of eggs were destroyed after the incident.

The samples sent to the laboratory at VLA, Weybridge, UK confirmed the presence of H5N1 (Avian Influenza) virus in the birds, said the officials. A Rapid Response Team has been dispatched to the side immediately after the incident. Instruction has been given not to use any bird or poultry products of the affected area.

A Surveillance and Response Team consisting of experts from World Health Organization has also been mobilised to conduct close monitoring of the area, an official said. High alert has been sounded across the country through District Health Centres across the country as well as in the capital, the official said.

The Health Ministry has also launched public awareness campaign in the capital to check the spread of the flu. As there is no case of bird flu found in the people after conducting tests, there is no need to panic, the official said.