Migratory Birds And Recent Outbreaks Of HPAI In Asia:
The asian migratory bird flyways are Central Asian-Indian Flyway (CAF), EastAsian-Australasian Flyway and West Pacific Flyway. The CAF is the major one and overlaps with other two which covers large continental area of Europe and Asia between Arctic Ocean and Indian Ocean covering the area from northernmost breeding grounds in Siberia to southernmost non-breeding wintering grounds in West Asia, South Asia, the Maldives and British Indian Ocean Territory. The CAF is centered on the major wintering areas of waterfowl in Indian Subcontinent, Africa in territory of African Eurasian Flyway (AEWA) to the west, and south-east Asia in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) to the east. At least 279 migratory water birds of 182 species migrate in CAF and it includes Siberia Cranes, Ruffs, Greater Flamingo,Wagtails, Sandpipers etc.
Several outbreaks of H5N6 has been reported in China in the month of October, 2016. In Bhutan H5N1 has been reported in October, 2016. Similarly, H5N8 strain outbreak was there in November of 2016 in India. The number of outbreak was 7 and all of them affected the domestic birds. Among these outbreaks in India only one has been resolved till date. Also, in the same month, there were outbreaks of H5N6 in Japan among the domestic birds. Immediately after that outbreak same strain was seen in Republic of Korea few days later. In the mean time there is outbreak of H5 strain in Russia. Recently on December, 2016 there is outbreak of H5N8 strain in Serbia and Russia and H5N6 has been seen in Hong Kong (SAR-PRC).
All the outbreaks occurring in this period from September to December of this year coincide with arrival time of winter migratory birds. Since these birds come from Russia, China, Siberia in major and all the countries where outbreaks are reported lies in route of migration, there is high chance of introduction of HPAI in our country too. As our neighboring country India has reported series of outbreaks in the month of November, our country is at high risk though import of birds and bird related items are banned through the open border since the outbreak.
It is because the migratory birds coming to India may use the forest, wetlands, water sources of Nepal as it is suitable for their purpose of migration. Also, these migratory birds are flying from the HPAI outbreak countries like Russia, China, Serbia, Korea, Japan, there remains a high chance of introducing those virus to our country. It is seen immediately after the outbreak of H5N6 in Japan, same strain reported in Republic of Korea. Fortunately, till date it is not seen in our country. National Contingency Plan for Prevention and Control of Avian Influenza in Nepal had already been formulated in 2060 B.S. But in present scenario, outbreaks of new strains are being reported. In such case, Nepal needs to be get prepared for any possible outbreak/s. We had already faced havoc in past outbreaks which affected the whole nation economy very badly.