BIRATNAGAR, Nepal –  March 1 – More than 700 chickens have died in three different poultry farms of Tankisinwari of Morang district due to “mysterious disease” within the past couple of days. Poultry entrepreneurs and locals have started to panic as the reason for such large number of deaths is yet to be established. Their fears have been compounded as H5N1 strain of the avian influenza virus, the causative agent of the dreaded bird flu, was detected in Sharanamati VDC of neighbouring Jhapa district just a week ago.

Spokesperson of Ministry for Agriculture and Cooperatives, Hari Dahal, however, said that the “rapid test” carried out at their regional laboratory in Biratnagar showed negative results of bird flu. “There is no need to panic as the immediate tests showed negative results,” he said. “We’ve kept the areas under surveillance.”
According to Kharal, some technicians from Regional Veterinary Office already took samples of the dead chickens on Friday but were yet to give out any information on the reason of the deaths, thus creating panic among entrepreneurs and consumerrs.

“Now we will test the samples brought in to our Central Animal Disease Investigation Laboratory in Kathmandu,” said spokesperson Dahal, adding, “After then, we have to send the samples to UK for another lab test if the test results showed that the chickens died due to bird flu virus.”