KATHMANDU: Bird flu outbreaks have killed 70,000 chickens worth Rs 29.4 million [US$337,554] since 2008. The country has witnessed 38 outbreaks in the last four years.
Bird flu has severely affected the country’s poultry farming, said spokesperson of the Directorate of Animal Health Dr Narayan Ghimire.
“There have been over three dozen outbreaks in the last four years which have directly affected farmers,” he said, adding that chicken, eggs and feeds worth millions of rupees have been destroyed so far.
According to Ghimire, bird flu has displaced farmers from the business. “Bird flu has been creating havoc among poultry farmers and hundreds have already quit the business,” he said.
This trend has been creating chicken shortage in the market and its price has climbed to an all time high of Rs 280 [US$3.21] a kg in the wholesale market and Rs 300 [US$3.44] per kg in the retail market.
The department’s report reveals that bird flu has affected all corners of the country. The first case was reported in Jhapa in 2008; followed by Pokhara, Banke, Kailali, Dang and Tanahu in 2009; and Kathmandu, Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Chitwan in 2010.
Recent outbreaks have been reported since November, 2012, in Pokhara, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Nuwakot. Repeated bird flu outbreaks have been noticed in Jhapa, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Pokhara, said Ghimire.
The department has suspected vaccines, feeds and other equipment used in poultry farms to be carriers of the bird flu virus — H5N1.
Vaccines, feeds and equipment may be carriers of the virus, but we cannot inspect them, said a veterinary doctor. According to him, the Department of Drug Administration has the right under the Drug Act but its focus is only on public health, he said.