Nepal survives human bird flu infection scareJanuary 25th, 2009 - 5:04 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Jan 25 (IANS) Nepal’s health authorities Sunday calmed down fears that the bird flu virus had infected humans in the Himalayan republic after the official media said a man had been admitted to hospital with suspected bird flu infection.Balbhadra Das, director at the B.P. Koirala Institute for Health Sciences (BPKIHS), told IANS that the report by Nepal’s national news agency Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS) was wrong.
The RSS had reported that a Nepali from Damak town in eastern Nepal’s Jhapa district - where the first bird flu infection in poultry was reported officially earlier this month - was admitted to BPKIHS with suspected avian influenza.
“The speculation was triggered probably because bird flu was reported in Jhapa and the patient, Santosh Dahal, is from Damak, also in Jhapa district,” Das said.
“Dahal is actually suffering from bronchial pneumonia, some symptoms of which resemble bird flu. He is still under our care but not in any danger.”
Nepal’s epidemiology division also ruled out reports of any suspected bird flu infection among humans.
“We have opened a hotline to monitor the situation and get hourly updates,” said Manash Kumar Banerjee, a doctor. “No human infection has been reported.”
Over 18,000 chickens and ducks were slaughtered in Nepal in the past week after detection of the avian influenza virus in Mechinagar in Jhapa district bordering India’s West Bengal state.
The government has banned the sale of poultry products from Jhapa, announced a high alert in 26 districts adjoining India and stepped up an awareness campaign to keep the disease confined to Jhapa.
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