Nepal chicken farmers plan festival to promote sales

The poultry industry will hold a festival in Nepal's capital this weekend to promote the sale of chicken and eggs, which have plummeted since last month when an outbreak of bird flu was discovered in neighboring India, farmers said Thursday.

The free festival in the capital, Katmandu, will feature performances by popular Nepalese artists, and chicken and egg delicacies will be served to those who attend, the Chicken Entrepreneurs Group said in a statement.

The group said there has been a significant decrease in sales of eggs and chickens since the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was detected in poultry in western India's Maharashtra state in February. It did not specify the extent of the drop in sales.

India has slaughtered tens of thousands of poultry to prevent the spread of H5N1. Health experts believe that people can catch the disease from sick birds, but the World Health Organization says humans are not at risk if the chicken they eat is properly cooked.

Concerns over the spread of H5N1 intensified this week when the Caucasus nation of Azerbaijan reported three people killed by the virus. It also has killed 98 other people in Asia, the Middle East and Turkey since 2003, according to WHO.

Nepal, which has reported no infections in people or birds, has banned poultry and egg imports from India, reports the AP.


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