National Center for Animal Health

Thimphu, Bhutan

National Center for Animal Health

Thimphu, Bhutan
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Hidano A.,Massey University | Sharma B.,Regional Development Centre | Rinzin K.,National Center for Animal Health | Dahal N.,Ministry of Agriculture | And 2 more authors.
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2017

Bovine enzootic haematuria (BEH) is a debilitating disease of cattle caused by chronic ingestion of bracken fern. Control of BEH is difficult when bracken fern is abundant and fodder resources are limited. To fill a significant knowledge gap on modifiable risk factors for BEH, we conducted a case–control study to identify cattle management practices associated with BEH in the Bhutanese cattle population. A case–control study involving 16 of the 20 districts of Bhutan was carried out between March 2012 and June 2014. In Bhutan sodium acid phosphate and hexamine (SAP&H) is used to treat BEH-affected cattle. All cattle greater than three years of age and treated with SAP&H in 2011 were identified from treatment records held by animal health offices. Households with at least one SAP&H-treated cattle were defined as probable cases. Probable case households were visited and re-classified as confirmed case households if the BEH status of cattle was confirmed following clinical examination and urinalysis. Two control households were selected from the same village as the case household. Households were eligible to be controls if: (1) householders reported that none of their cattle had shown red urine during the previous five years, and (2) haematuria was absent in a randomly selected animal from the herd following clinical examination. Details of cattle management practices were elicited from case and control householders using a questionnaire. A conditional logistic regression model was used to quantify the association between exposures of interest and household BEH status. A total of 183 cases and 345 controls were eligible for analysis. After adjusting for known confounders, the odds of free-grazing for two and three months in the spring were 3.81 (95% CI 1.27–11.7) and 2.28 (95% CI 1.15–4.53) times greater, respectively, in case households compared to controls. The odds of using fresh fern and dry fern as bedding in the warmer months were 2.05 (95% CI 1.03–4.10) and 2.08 (95% CI 0.88–4.90) times greater, respectively, in cases compared to controls. This study identified two husbandry practices that could be modified to reduce the risk of BEH in Bhutanese cattle. Avoiding the use of bracken fern as bedding is desirable, however, if fern is the only available material, it should be harvested during the colder months of the year. Improving access to alternative fodder crops will reduce the need for householders to rely on free-grazing as the main source of metabolisable energy for cattle during the spring. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.


Thapa N.K.,National Center for Animal Health | Tenzin,National Center for Animal Health | Wangdi K.,Ministry of Health | Dorji T.,Ministry of Health | And 4 more authors.
Emerging Infectious Diseases | Year: 2014

In 2010, we investigated anthrax outbreak in Bhutan. A total of 43 domestic animals died, and cutaneous anthrax developed in 9 persons, and 1 died. All affected persons had contact with the carcasses of infected animals. Comprehensive preparedness and response guidelines are needed to increase public awareness of anthrax in Bhutan.


PubMed | Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Omar Al-Mukhtar University, Instituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dellEmilia Romagna, The Pirbright Institute and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Transboundary and emerging diseases | Year: 2016

Foot-and-mouth disease viruses are often restricted to specific geographical regions and spread to new areas may lead to significant epidemics. Phylogenetic analysis of sequences of the VP1 genome region of recent outbreak viruses from Libya and Saudi Arabia has revealed a lineage, O-Ind-2001, normally found in the Indian subcontinent. This paper describes the characterization of field viruses collected from these cases and provides information about a new real-time RT-PCR assay that can be used to detect viruses from this lineage and discriminate them from other endemic FMD viruses that are co-circulating in North Africa and western Eurasia.


Rinzin K.,Murdoch University | Rinzin K.,National Center for Animal Health | Tenzin T.,National Center for Animal Health | Robertson I.,Murdoch University
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2016

Understanding the demography of domestic dogs is essential to plan the dog population management and rabies control program. In this study, we estimated the owned and stray dog population and the proportion of owned dogs that are free-roaming in Bhutan. For this, a cross-sectional household surveys were conducted in six districts (both urban and rural areas) and two border towns in southern Bhutan. The population estimation was done by extrapolation of the mean number of dogs per household and dogs per person, whilst mark-resight survey was conducted to estimate the proportion of owned dogs that were free-roaming. A total of 1,301 (rural:585; urban:716) respondents (one per household) were interviewed of which 173 households (24.4%) in urban areas owned 237 dogs whilst 238 households (40.8%) in rural areas owned 353 dogs. The mean number of dogs per dog owning household was estimated to be 1.44 (urban:1.37 dogs; rural:1.48 dogs) and dogs per household was estimated to be 0.45 (urban:0.33; rural:0.60). The dog: human ratio was 1:16.30 (0.06 dogs per person) in urban areas and 1:8.43 (0.12 dogs per person) in rural areas. The total owned dog population based on the mean number of dogs per household and dogs per person were estimated to be 65,312 and 71,245 in the country, respectively. The male: female ratio of the owned dog was 1.31:1 in urban areas and 2.05:1 in rural areas. Majority of the dogs were local non-descript breeds in both urban (60.8%) and rural (78%) areas, and the most common source was acquisition from friends or family (44.7%). The stray dog population in Bhutan was estimated to be 48,379 (urban:22,772; rural:25,607). Of the total estimated owned dog population in the two border towns, the proportion that were found free-roaming was estimated to be 31%. The different dog population estimation methods were compared and discussed in this paper. This study generated baseline data on the demographic patterns of the owned and stray dogs in Bhutan which will be useful for planning and monitoring dog population management and rabies control program in the country. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Dukpa K.,National Center for Animal Health | Dukpa K.,Murdoch University | Robertson I.D.,Murdoch University | Ellis T.,Murdoch University
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2012

Serological and clinical studies were conducted between March 2009 and August 2010 to validate the foot-and-mouth disease free status of Tsirang district of Bhutan as determined by the country's passive surveillance system. Randomised (first survey) and targeted (third survey) samplings, with subsequent follow-up samplings (second and fourth), were conducted on FMD-susceptible animals to detect the disease at a design prevalence of 25% and 20% at the individual animal-level and village-level, respectively. Sera from cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep were tested for the presence of non-structural protein (NSP) antibodies using two commercial (PrioCHECK ® FMDV NS and CHEKIT ®-FMD-3ABC-bo-ov) and one in-house NSP kit (c-ELISA, AAHL, Australia). The overall seropositivity (all species) at the animal-level was 3% (95% CI: 1.7, 4.8) and 3.5% (95% CI: 2.1, 5.4), for the randomised and targeted surveys, respectively. Except for one goat from the first survey, none of the small ruminants and pigs had NSP antibodies. The seropositives from the first and targeted surveys were distributed among 13 and 16 of 20 villages sampled, respectively. All repeat testing from the initial seropositive animals and their herd mates, for both the first and third surveys, were negative in the NSP tests 6-8 months later. Using the hypergeometric exact probability formula for two-stage analyses, the results enabled rejection of the null hypothesis and supported conclusion that the population was free from disease at the minimum expected prevalence of 20% at the 95.53% and 99.46% confidence levels, for the randomised and targeted surveys, respectively. Clinical surveillance also showed absence of disease or clinical signs suggestive of FMD. The few seropositives were likely to be false positives due to factors such as imperfect specificities of the tests and possible NSP-residues in the vaccines. The study has paved the way for initiation of zoning approaches for the progressive control of FMD in Bhutan. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Dukpa K.,National Center for Animal Health | Dukpa K.,Murdoch University | Robertson I.D.,Murdoch University | Edwards J.R.,Murdoch University | Ellis T.M.,Murdoch University
Tropical Animal Health and Production | Year: 2011

A retrospective study on the outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Bhutan, between the years 1996 and 2008, based on the data collected through passive surveillance, was undertaken. A total of 230 outbreaks of FMD at sub-district level were recorded in 299 villages located in 19 out of the 20 districts in the country. There were no significant differences between the years (P = 0.998) or months (P = 0.989) on the incidence of FMD. The sub-districts in the north (altitude >1,000 m above mean sea level) had significantly (P = 0.008) higher incidences of outbreaks in winter than in summer. The sub-districts that shared border with India had significantly more outbreaks than those that didn't (P = 0.001). Cattle were the most predominant species affected being involved in all of the outbreaks reported. Serotype O, which constituted 70.6% of the outbreaks typed was the most predominant serotype prevalent in Bhutan followed by A (16.7%), Asia 1 (8.8%), and C (3.9%). Cattle density was significantly positively correlated (P = 0.023) with the incidence of disease. Three waves of outbreaks of epidemic proportions were reported in 1997/1998, 2002/2003, and 2007/2008 due to the PanAsia strain of the O serotype. The study highlights the incursion of the PanAsia strain of the O serotype into the country, possibly, through the transboundary movement of animals and the need for active surveillance of FMD, especially at the border areas. The study also highlights the significance of the O serotype and cattle as the main indicator species in the epidemiology of FMD in Bhutan. The findings from this study can be used as baseline epidemiological data for further research to understand the epidemiology of FMD in Bhutan. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Dukpa K.,National Center for Animal Health | Dukpa K.,Murdoch University | Robertson I.D.,Murdoch University | Ellis T.M.,Murdoch University
Preventive Veterinary Medicine | Year: 2011

Cross sectional serological surveys were conducted between March and December 2009 to determine the distribution of foot-and-mouth disease and also to validate the current passive surveillance system in Bhutan. A total of 1909 sera collected from cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs, from 485 herds in 106 villages, were tested using a foot-and-mouth disease non-structural protein 3ABC ELISA. The true prevalence at the animal-level for all species was 15% (95% CI: 13.5, 16.7) using the sensitivity (97.2%) and specificity (99.5%) for cattle. The true prevalence for cattle, goats, sheep and pigs were 17.6 (95% CI: 15.6, 19.5), 11.9% (95% CI: 5.6, 18.3), 11.9% (95% CI: 1.3, 25.1), and 1.9% (95% CI: 0.0, 3.8), respectively.The sub-districts that shared border with India had significantly (p= 0.03) higher seroprevalence than the interior sub-districts. Villages located in the sub-tropical zone had significantly (p< 0.0001) higher seroprevalence than those located at high altitude zones. Herds with known outbreaks of FMD were 3.6 times more likely (p< 0.001) to be seropositive than those with no history of outbreaks of FMD. The study showed the usefulness of population-based serological surveys in detecting circulation of active infection in populations which were, until now, considered to be free of disease based on a passive surveillance system. The study also highlighted the benefits of conducting serological and questionnaire surveys, simultaneously, to ascertain the infection status of herds and animals. Some of the findings from this study could be considered for strengthening of the current FMD control program in Bhutan. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | National Center for Animal Health and Murdoch University
Type: | Journal: Preventive veterinary medicine | Year: 2016

Understanding the demography of domestic dogs is essential to plan the dog population management and rabies control program. In this study, we estimated the owned and stray dog population and the proportion of owned dogs that are free-roaming in Bhutan. For this, a cross-sectional household surveys were conducted in six districts (both urban and rural areas) and two border towns in southern Bhutan. The population estimation was done by extrapolation of the mean number of dogs per household and dogs per person, whilst mark-resight survey was conducted to estimate the proportion of owned dogs that were free-roaming. A total of 1,301 (rural:585; urban:716) respondents (one per household) were interviewed of which 173 households (24.4%) in urban areas owned 237 dogs whilst 238 households (40.8%) in rural areas owned 353 dogs. The mean number of dogs per dog owning household was estimated to be 1.44 (urban:1.37 dogs; rural:1.48 dogs) and dogs per household was estimated to be 0.45 (urban:0.33; rural:0.60). The dog: human ratio was 1:16.30 (0.06 dogs per person) in urban areas and 1:8.43 (0.12 dogs per person) in rural areas. The total owned dog population based on the mean number of dogs per household and dogs per person were estimated to be 65,312 and 71,245 in the country, respectively. The male: female ratio of the owned dog was 1.31:1 in urban areas and 2.05:1 in rural areas. Majority of the dogs were local non-descript breeds in both urban (60.8%) and rural (78%) areas, and the most common source was acquisition from friends or family (44.7%). The stray dog population in Bhutan was estimated to be 48,379 (urban:22,772; rural:25,607). Of the total estimated owned dog population in the two border towns, the proportion that were found free-roaming was estimated to be 31%. The different dog population estimation methods were compared and discussed in this paper. This study generated baseline data on the demographic patterns of the owned and stray dogs in Bhutan which will be useful for planning and monitoring dog population management and rabies control program in the country.


Ahmed K.,Oita University | Wimalaratne O.,Health Diagnostic Laboratory | Dahal N.,National Center for Animal Health | Khawplod P.,Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute | And 6 more authors.
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene | Year: 2012

Rabies diagnosis uses a direct fluorescent antibody test (FAT) that is difficult, costly, and time-consuming, and requires trained personnel. We developed a rapid immunochromatographic test (RICT) for the diagnosis of rabies. The efficacy of the RICT was compared with that of the FAT. Brain samples were collected from humans, dogs, cats, and other animals in Sri Lanka (n = 248), Bhutan (n = 27), and Thailand (n = 228). The sensitivity (0.74-0.95), specificity (0.98-1.0), positive predictive value (0.98-1.0), negative predictive value (0.75-0.97), accuracy (0.91-0.98), and kappa measure of agreement (0.79-0.93) were all satisfactory for animal samples and samples preserved in 50% glycerol saline solution. Because the RICT showed high sensitivity but low specificity with human brain samples, it is unsuitable for confirming rabies in humans. No amino acid substitutions were found in the antibody attachment sites of the nucleoprotein gene with FAT-positive, RICT-negative samples. The RICT is reliable, user friendly, rapid, robust, and can be used in laboratories with a modest infrastructure. Copyright © 2012 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.


PubMed | University of Zürich and National Center for Animal Health
Type: | Journal: Parasitology international | Year: 2016

In this pilot study, fecal samples were collected from community dogs around slaughterhouses and from the city of Thimphu (n=138) as well as from carnivores in the forest area around a farm in Bhutan (n=28). Samples were analyzed microscopically for the presence of taeniid eggs by the floatation and sieving method. Further molecular analyses of 20 samples of community dogs positive for taeniid eggs confirmed 10 Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato and one Taenia hydatigena case. From 14 environmental fecal samples from the forest area positive for taeniid eggs, one contained E. granulosus s.l., six T. hydatigena and one Taenia taeniaeformis DNA. In the remaining samples considered positive for taeniid eggs, no molecular confirmation could be achieved. Additionally, Echinococcus cysts were collected from locally slaughtered cattle and imported cattle organs. Seven Echinococcus cysts (one fertile) from the local animals and 35 (four fertile) from imported cattle organs were confirmed as E. granulosus (G1-3) by PCR/sequencing. One Echinococcus cyst each from a local animal and from an imported cattle organ (both fertile) were confirmed to be Echinococcus ortleppi (G5). Sterile Echinococcus cysts were also collected from local yaks (n=10), and all revealed to be E. granulosus (G1-G3). Hospital records of cystic echinococcosis in humans and the presence of Echinococcus spp. in dogs and ungulates indicate the existence of local transmission for both E. ortleppi and E. granulosus in Bhutan.

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