Infectious Bursal Disease outbreak in Broiler Poultry farms in Darla Geog Chhukha

A total of about 900 broiler birds reported death as of 19th January 2020 at Chumilhakha and Rinchentse, Darla, Chhukha in five broiler poultry farms. Following the report of 300 bird’s mortality on 7th January, the Regional Livestock Development Centre (RLDC) Tsimasham and Dzongkhag Livestock sector Chhukha has carried out the joint preliminary investigation to rule out Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (bird flu) and confirmed the Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) outbreak after laboratory samples referred to National Centre for Animal Health, Serbithang Thimphu. The in-depth field investigation was able to implement only from 16th January due to lockdown.

As per the ongoing investigation; the birds started dying from 2nd January 2021 in one of the farm at Chumilhakha and similarly in nearby farms from 5th January 2021. The four broiler farms at Chumilhakha reported the death of birds to RNR-Livestock Extension Centre, Darla only on 7th January when they found more number of death in a day. Subsequently the similar death was also reported in 5th farm, and the disease was confirmed to spread by common movement of people and contaminants in locality.

Team has collected the samples and conducted postmortem examination of dead birds and also referred the samples to National Centre for Animal Health, Thimphu. As per the PM findings and field rapid IBD Ag test, the disease is confirmed as Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) in five farms.  IBD is not a zoonotic disease (non- infectious to human) but highly contagious disease that affects the birds 3-10 weeks age and  have major socio economic impacts to farmers.

All the control measures are implemented and avid further spread of the disease to other poultry farms. The affected farm premises are disinfected, proper burial of dead carcasses and implemented other hygienic measures in locality. The outbreak is under control so far in five farms only. The sale of products from affected farms are restricted to prevent the spread of disease.

There is no report of wild birds and local birds’ death in adjacent villages under Darla, Chhukha. The rapid containment measures are underway in affected farms and surveillance in other clean farms to follow the good farm biosecurity and management. Team has suspected that main source of outbreak as movement of contaminants, zero flock immunity since broiler birds are not vaccinated against IBD and other diseases including the poor farm biosecurity.

Darla Gewog has 15 layer bird farms and 30 broiler farms with total of 20000 poultry birds, which is one of the highest progressive poultry farming hub in the country.  The five poultry farmers has incurred huge losses due to IBD outbreaks amid COVID-19 pandemic situations.


Reported by:

Regional Livestock Development Centre, Tsimasham

Department of Livestock, MoAF