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|Paradigm Shift Intervention Monitoring||Audio: Jan28 Apr21 Sep22
Spread to Nepal Raises Surveillance Concerns
Bird flu was reported in poultry from the southeast Nepal town of Kakarvitta, bordering India, officials said.
The above comments confirm H5N1 spread to a border town in teh Jhapa district of Nepal. This spread is not surprising. The large outbreak in Suliguri raised concerns that H5N1 could be reported in adjacent areas, including Nepal (see updated map). Suliguri is surrounded by nature reserves and wild bird sanctuaries and almost exactly 1 year ago H5N1 was confirmed in West Bengal. Thus, outbreaks in Assam and West Bengal last month suggested H5N1 would spread as the temperature dropped. On a related note, the January 14 update from MOFL in Bangladesh reported culling of 5229 birds in Dhaka.
Nepal has announced pans to cull all birds within 3 km of the outbreak. Two districts in India are within 3 km of the outbreak (Kishanganj in Bihar and Darjeeling in West Bengal) and additional spread is likely.
West Bengal has already expressed concern about culling in the adjacent Darjeeling Hills due to political unrest, and wild birds (local resident as well as migratory) do not respect borders.
As the temperature drops in the area, more outbreaks are expected and confirmation will be largely dependent on testing Nepal announced the H5N1 positives one day after the reported deaths, which is significantly faster than India, which sends a limited number of samples to distant testing centers.