Hopping and skipping
Nepal cannot afford to be complacent in its efforts to contain bird flu
Around a month ago, we had assured our readers that they could consume well-cooked poultry products without any fear of contracting bird flu. According to the World Health Organization, meat cooked above the temperature of 70 degree centigrade is completely safe for consumption. Now, the spectre of bird flu has again raised its head in the district of Jhapa, the same place it was seen the last time. This time, bird flu cases have been confirmed at Saranmati VDC in poultry imported from India. The Post would like to reiterate its earlier stance: there is no danger whatsoever of contracting bird flu from well-cooked poultry or poultry products. The bigger danger lies in direct human contact with live infected poultry or the objects smeared with their faeces. Even then, however, the chances of bird flu jumping species are extremely low.
Be that as it may, this is no ground for complacency. Even though the chances that humans will get bird flu from poultry are minimal, if the virus infects humans, and mutates into a species which transmits from humans to humans, it will not take much time to infect a large swath of people that come into even remote contact of those infected. The mortality rate among humans with bird flu is 65 percent. In 2009 alone, two people have died of bird flu in eastern China. Just last week, another woman fell victim to the H5N1 virus in Vietnam. In India, the virus has spread among poultry in the states of Assam and Meghalaya. The West Bengal government is, at present, culling thousands of birds in the areas surrounding the town of Siliguri, which lies close to the Nepali border region of Kakarbhitta where the first bird flu outbreak in Nepal was reported a month ago.
The Nepali government should work on a war footing to cull poultry in areas surrounding the site of latest cases of infection. To be fair, the government is doing nearly all it...