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Nepal - Farmers' foul play suspected for rise in bird flu cases

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  • Nepal - Farmers' foul play suspected for rise in bird flu cases

    Farm owners not following govt directive‚ obstructing response teams
    2013-02-12 12:40 AM

    KATHMANDU: The Kathmandu Valley has recorded third confirmed case of bird flu in as many days, taking the number of such incidents to nine in the past 45 days.

    The latest confirmed case of bird flu today at a poultry farm owned by Subarna Basnet in Manamaiju, Nepaltar, has prompted experts to claim that poultry farmers have been playing foul. A rapid response team from the Directorate of Animal Health culled 6,060 chicken and destroyed 950 kg of chicken feed at the farm today.

    Sources at DoAH said poultry farmers were not following the government directives properly and were indulging in unethical practices like selling poultry products in the market even after knowing that the fowls were infected with virus. “Such cases are on the rise as farm owners are flouting Bird Flu Control Order 2007,” said the sources. The order prohibits import, export or sale of poultry products even if they are suspected of infection.

    The sources added that farmers have been found to be selling infected chicken and eggs and using infected crates repeatedly without following due disinfection procedure. At times, farm owners even threaten RRT people when they reach the site to cull virus-infected fowls. Yesterday, a DoAH team had to struggle hard to destroy chicken when it reached a poultry farm owned by Dharma Raj Pandit of Nayapati where bird flu was confirmed.

    Around 247 out of 3,000 fowls in his farm had died due to bird flu. The team could cull the chicken only after security forces arrived for help.

    Dr Narayan Prasad Ghimire, Spokesperson for DoAH, admitted that the team from his office had to face obstruction at Nayapati yesterday. He added that porous border, cross-border movement, traditional methods of slaughtering and meat handling, migratory birds and contact of domestic and wild birds were major reasons behind the bird flu outbreak.

    “We are definitely on high-alert now as bird flu risk is high during winter,” said Dr Ghimire, urging poultry farmers to inform DoAH if any unusual deaths of fowls or illness in them are seen. He also called on farmers to increase their vigilance against bird flu and take stronger bio-safety precautions, including frequent disinfection.

    DoAH said people could consume poultry products without any hesitation as all infected fowls had been culled but asked consumers to cook the meat properly.

    Fowls culled in Jhapa

    JHAPA: District Livestock Office in Jhapa has started culling fowls and destroying chicken product in a poultry farm owned by Bhim Mukhiya in Anarmani VDC after bird flu was confirmed there. Dr Dilip Sapkota said samples were sent to Kathmandu on February for tests after fowls in Mukhiya’s farm started dying.
    A team from the livestock office destroyed seven chicks, 17 chicken and two ducks in the farm and its vicinity on Monday. Chief District Officer Narendra Prasad Sharma, who is also the coordinator of District Avian Influenza Control Committee, said technicians started culling fowls on Monday only as they were awaiting reports from Kathmandu. “The reports arrived yesterday,” said Sharma. “Technicians will be deployed to destroy fowls in around 50 houses in Anarmani VDC.” Three cases of bird flu were detected in the district in February last year.