KATHMANDU, Feb 16: Amid outbreak of avian flu in several parts of the country and with more than 500 samples coming every month, Central Veterinary Laboratory in the capital is working overtime to handle the sudden rise in workload.
According to officials working at the laboratory, people are keenly following spread of the disease and they are sending dead chickens immediately for investigation.
“Following news of avian flu outbreak in the country coming in the media, we are getting more samples. Farmers are spontaneously sending their dead chickens for investigation,” Dr Ram Krishna Khatiwada, focal person for avian flu control program, said.
He said earlier the lab would examine samples collected by veterinary inspectors. The laboratory used to conduct preliminary tests of the suspected samples. “If the result is positive, we would send the sample further to London based veterinary laboratories for further confirmation,” he added.
Dr Khatiwada said the disease has broken out in six different places in eastern parts of the country this year. Sunsari, Jhapa, Panchthar, Ilam districts have reported outbreak of avian flu. Thousands of chickens have been culled from infected farms. Also, there have been reports that the disease has been detected among crows in the capital in December last year.
Meanwhile, Directorate of Animal Health has intensified surveillance in poultry farms across the country. Dr Khatiwada, who is also the spokesperson of the directorate, said the disease is under control and veterinary inspectors are collecting suspected samples of dead chicken, ducks and other birds for investigation.
H5N1 virus confirmed in dead crow
Officials of the directorate has admitted H5N1 virus has been detected in samples of dead crows, which were collected from the capital. But they said that does not poses risk to human health. “Crows usually do not come closer to people, so virus in them does not pose any risk to human health,” Dr Khatiwada said.
He denied that the office has tried to cover up the news of that the disease was detected in crows in the capital.
“We had sent samples of the crow with other samples collected from Sunsari, results for both have come positive,” he added. He said it is impossible to cull crows. The office also said more stringent surveillance is being conducted of the poultry farms in the capital after the disease was detected among crows in the capital.