Bird flu alert issued in east

Biratnagar, April 28:

In view of the perceived threat of bird flu, six of the 16 districts in the eastern region have been declared high-risk zones.

According to the severity of threat perception, the regional livestock services directorate has divided the 16 districts into three categories. Six districts — Jhapa, Ilam, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari and Siraha - which are contiguous to India, have been declared high-risk zones.

Import of poultry and eggs is being strictly controlled at all checkpoints in these districts. Police, quarantine personnel and customs officials there are on high alert, said regional administrator Narendra Dahal. The alert was sounded after bird flu was reported in India’s West Bengal state that borders Jhapa and Ilam. No case of bird flu has been reported yet in Nepal, said Dahal.

Solukhumbu, Taplejung, Panchthar, Sankhuwasabha and Dhankuta have been declared medium risk zones, and Terhathum, Bhojpur, Okhaldhunga and Khotang have been declared low risk zones.

Regional livestock services director Shivendra Kumar Singh said preventive steps were being taken to prevent any outbreak of bird flu in Nepal. The directorate has sounded a high alert in 11 VDCs of Morang district and declared these extremely sensitive areas. Rangeli, Dainiya, Buddhanagar, Majhare, Nocha, Pokha-riya, Amahi Bariyati, Soro-bhag, Aamgaachhi and Urlabari have been declared extremely sensitive areas along with some parts of Biratnagar.

Chief of the Morang livestock services office Dr Surendra Yadav said tests were carried out on 90 poultry specimens from commercial and private farms, but no sign of bird flu was detected. He said that teams from the office were making the rounds of villages in the sensitive areas every 15 days. Regular inspection of poultry farms is also on, he added.