The government has scotched rumors that two women died of bird flu in Bharatpur of Chitwan district.
Issuing a press statement on Monday, the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) made it clear that the deaths of two patients at the Teaching Hospital of College of Medical Science, Bharatpur were not related to the avian influenza or H5N1 virus.
Dr G.D. Thakur, Director of the EDCD, stated that both patients died of pneumonia.
The EDCD had to issue the statement after bird flu was suspected to have caused the deaths of Amrita Shrestha, 25, of Nawalparasi district, and Binu Pudasaini, 41, of Makawanpur district on Saturday.
Both were admitted to the hospital after they suffered from common cold and fever.
After the hospital wrote a letter to the District Public Health Office (DPHO) of Chitwan to confirm whether the victims were infected with Avian Influenza (H5NI) virus, rumors about their deaths, possibly from Bird Flu, spread rapidly early on Monday, causing panic among people. However, in its statement, the EDCD maintained that bird flu was yet to spread to human population. In Nepal, even though bird flu outbreaks recently surged in the Kathmandu valley and surrounding districts, no one has been tested positive for H5NI.
According to Thakur, a team was mobilized by the Chitwan DPHO immediately after the two women´s deaths to confirm whether they died of bird flu. The team, Thakur informed, found out that none of the victims had been in contact with chicken or any other birds in the last two weeks, which ruled out possibilities that they were infected with H5NI virus.