Authorities say consuming chicken is okay
KATHMANDU, Dec 27: With the detection of the H5N1 virus at another poultry farm in Kathmandu, rapid response teams from the District Animal Health Office, Kathmandu culled all 2,240 chickens at the farm on Wednesday.
The team comprising vets and health experts also destroyed 700 kg of chicken feed and 105 eggs stored at the farm, which is some 50 meters from a farm where the bird flu virus was confirmed some three days ago.
According to the Directorate of Animal Health (DoAH), the virus was detected at the farm owned by Surya Mohan Pokharel of Sitapaila VDC -1 Kathmandu. Earlier, the disease was confirmed at Subir Singh Basnet´s farm at Ramkot-6, where all 2,500 chicken had died. Veterinary technicians destroyed over 19,000 eggs from the farm.
DoAH said that the virus was detected in samples of chicken collected by surveillance officers. Following the outbreak, samples were collected from suspicious farms and analyzed at the central veterinary laboratory under DoAH. The laboratory on Wednesday morning confirmed infection at Pokharel´s farm also.
"Rapid response teams were mobilized immediately after confirmation of the virus," said Narayan Prasad Ghimire, senior veterinarian at DoAH. Earlier, the authorities used to take a day or two making preparations, but this time they responded immediately.
The meeting of a district co-ordination committee led by Chief District Officer (CDO) Chudamani Sharma had taken the decision to cull. DoAH´s Ghimire said that the team has also completed the first phase of disinfection at the farm. He said collection of samples of suspicious chicken is a continuous process.
DoAH has declared the area an infected zone and surveillance there has been intensified.
The virus was detected at a poultry farm at Dharke, Dhading two weeks ago, and 3,000 chickens were culled there. The virus was also detected at a poultry farm at Bode, Bhaktapur some two months ago. Veterinary officials said that there is a high possibility of bird flu outbreak during the winter season.
Consume chicken without hesitation: DoAH
Meanwhile, authorities at DoAH have said people can consume chicken and eggs without any hesitation.
They claimed that all the infected chicken and eggs were destroyed and no infected chickens are in the market. "We don´t stop travelling at the news of accidents, so why fear to eat chicken because of news of one or two bird flu outbreaks," said Ghimire. He said there is no risk in consuming chickens or eggs. He assured that all the infected chickens and eggs were destroyed following the confirmation of infection.
The District Public Health Office (DPHO) Kathmandu said that surveillance has been intensified, taking the infected farm as epicenter. "We have asked people to come to Teku Hospital if they have any health complications," said Dhurba Adhikari, public health inspector at DPHO.
DPHO has appealed to locals to cook their chicken properly before eating and also to wash their hands properly with soap after touching any chicken.
Team to probe missing chicken at Basnet farm
The district administration office (DAO) on Wednesday formed a seven-member committee to investigate the disappearance of 2,500 dead chicken from Basnet´s farm. The team headed by Bol Raj Acharya, chief of District Animal Health Office, Kathmandu, will submit its report within three days.
The team comprises DAO officers Binod Prasad Upadhya and Deepak KC, Bimala Khanal, secretary of Nepal Consumer Rights Forum, DSP Sarad Singh Basnet of the Armed Police Force (APF), Nepal Police Inspector Ramesh Shrestha, and Jung Bahadur BC of National Chicken Sellers Association.
CDO Sharma said the committee will observe the buried fowls and submit its report. "If they do not find the buried chickens action will be taken against the farmer," he said.
Consumer rights activists had said that negligence by the authorities had put the lives of consumers at risk. Asked about this, Ghimire said it is the administration which is responsible. "We informed the authorities about the infection. It was for them to ensure safety at farms".
But CDO Sharma said DoAH was informed after confirmation of the disease and asked to help deploy rapid response teams. Basnet had informed the authorities that all the dead chicken at his farm were buried but was unable to show the burial site.