Govt cracks whip on RHD to check bird flu threat

Kathmandu, August 13:

In preparation against the threat of avian influenza, commonly known as ‘bird flu’, the government has set up a committee and directed the regional health directorates to take precautions to control any outbreak of bird flu, which has been detected in neighbouring Tibet recently. Dr Mahendra Bahadur Bista, director at the Epidemiology and Disease Control Centre (EDCD) said there was a chance that bird flu might spread in Nepal as well. Dr Bista said the Health Ministry has strengthened surveillance, awareness creation measures and is also organising advocacy programmes regarding the infection. “We will formulate guidelines as recommended by the World Health Organisation very soon,” said Dr Bista. The central level task force committee comprises representatives from MOHP, Department of Health Services, EDCD, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Livestock Service Department, and the Animal Health directorate.

The committee has directed all regional health directorates to inform the District Livestock Service Office immediately if any chicken is reported to have died of unknown causes.

Dr Bista added that since avian influenza is mainly caused due to imported birds and also migratory ones, there was a need for strict surveillance. The bird flu virus is transmitted through droplet transmission from the respiratory tract of infected livestock to persons. It is an airborne disease.