Authorities at the Directorate of Animal Health said it had increased surveillance in nearby poultry farms in Sunsari, where the avian influenza H5N8 virus was detected in chickens of a poultry farm.
Officials said that surveillance officers have been deployed in nearby areas, and have issued an alert to locals and health workers about the spread of the disease.
“We have increased surveillance in surrounding poultry farms and have asked surveillance officers to send samples of dead chickens for laboratory examination,” said senior veterinary doctor at DoAH Hari Kumar Raghu Shrestha. He said that the H5N8 virus was detected for the first time in the country.
Earlier, on February, the H5N1 virus was detected in a poultry farm of Kaski district, where thousands of chickens were culled.
According to Shrestha, the H5N8 virus was first detected in wild and migratory birds at the zoo inside the children’s park of Taltalaiya, a tourist spot in Itahari district, where over 30 birds such as swans, peacocks, turkeys and owls had died. A rapid response team comprising vet officials had culled the remaining birds in the zoo.
Later, the virus was found in Pathivara Poultry farm in adjoining Sunsari district, where over 3,000 chickens died by the virus. The remaining chickens were stamped out by a rapid response team that comprised vet officials. The team had also destroyed chicken feed stored in the farms, and chicken droppings.
Shrestha informed that the virus was confirmed by the Central Animal Health Laboratory, which had examined samples of dead chicken sent from the farm.
The World Health Organisation said that avian influenza H5N8 virus is highly pathogenic but no human case of infection had been detected till date.
The WHO however, said that human infection with the virus could not be ruled out although the likelihood was low.
A version of this article appears in print on March 15, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.