No human casualty in bird flu-hit Nepal

January 19th, 2009 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Jan 19 (IANS) Struck with the bird flu virus for the first time, Nepal Monday said no human casualties had been detected so far and declared all districts adjoining India as “super-critical areas” to stop the virus from spreading.”Till now, we haven’t come across human infections in Nepal,” said Hari Dahal, spokesman at the agriculture and cooperatives ministry.

Dahal also said that the virus had not been detected outside Jhapa district in eastern Nepal, adjoining the border with India’s West Bengal state, where the outbreak was formally acknowledged by the government Friday.

To stop the spread of the virus, the government Monday declared all 26 districts sharing a border with India as “super-critical areas” where poultry products can be sold only after a clean chit by veterinary doctors.

From Monday, the agriculture and the home ministries together began conducting examinations along all highways to ferret out illegally smuggled in poultry products.

The government also banned the transport of poultry products in public transport.

The additional measures were declared after farmers began culling chickens and ducks in Mechinagar town in Jhapa district adjoining the border with India’s West Bengal state where the virus was detected once again a few weeks ago.

Farmers estimate around 8,000 birds will have been slaughtered by Monday evening though there is fear about receiving compensation from the government.

Poultry farming in Nepal is estimated to have an investment of about NRS 20 billion. The annual trade in poultry products is about NRS 16 billion.

With a recent outbreak reported in India’s West Bengal and Assam states, it is felt that the virus could have entered Nepal through eggs or poultry smuggled from across the porous border in defiance of a ban imposed by the Nepal government.

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