The samples were sent to National Center for Animal Health (NCAH) in Serbithang on 16 January by the Gelephu veterinary hospital team and by the dzongkhag team.
The bird flu outbreak was confirmed on the 17th of January.
A veterinary doctor in Gelephu, B.B Bandari, said “it just happened that one of the police personnel brought a dead bird in the hospital and we did a rapid test. During that time it was not confirmed whether it was an outbreak of bird flu or not”.
The samples were therefore sent to Serbithang in Thimphu to confirm the outbreak and then to the National Influenza Control Center (NICC) to do with the census in the poultry with the number of dead and the sick birds and the existing of healthy animals in Namkhaling area.
“Once the NICC confirms about the safety measures then we will take a step forward so that the moving vehicles do not carry the infection in Sarpang, Tsirang and Zhemgang areas. We will be making this disinfection on the highway routes so that the flu doesn’t spread,” he said.
Chenga Tshering, another veteran doctor in Gelephu said, “Now when the flu has reached the town altogether we will have depopulation, disposal and de-contaminated operation (3D Operation) because as of now there are 350 birds affected with the flu, 50 birds/ducks are at risk in the local poultry,” he said.
The team of health officials is monitoring the situation in Gelephu town and with the flu confirmed, strict surveillance is underway. This would continue for the next 21 days where the department of livestock in Gelephu, the BAFRA team and the dzongkhag administrative officials will work together.
If the surveillance team does not find signs of the flu further for 21 days they will declare the town as a risk-free zone as the Namkhaling area is within the three kilometer radius of one of the isolated places.
Sonam Wangmo / Gelephu