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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 12:05, March 14, 2007
New bird flu cases found in Myanmar
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New bird flu cases of H5 have been found in some dead pheasants and quails in two farms in suburban townships of Yangon in the last two days, an official of the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) said on Wednesday.

The official said on condition of anonymity that the department has taken urgent measures to deal with the fresh bird flu cases.

The H5 virus was detected on 66 out of 120 dead pheasants in a pheasant farm in North Okkalapa township and 60 out of 2,300 dead quails in a quail farm in Mingaladon township on Monday and Tuesday, according to the official.

Under the risk prevention program, the remaining 54 dead pheasants and 2,240 dean quails as well as 27 domestic fowls and 15 ducks from nearby farms were culled, the official disclosed.

The LBVD attributed the new bird flu cases to less bio-security in the two farms.

The new bird flu cases were re-detected after the authorities reported no finding of such new bird flu virus on deaths of 234 crows, pigeons, sparrows, quails and owls in townships in Yangon as of March 9 since the end of February amid the latest outbreak of bird flu.

Suspicious avian influenza was first detected by Myanmar itself in a small private poultry farm in northwestern Yangon's suburban township of Mayangon after laboratory test was done on some dead chickens on Feb. 27.

As an initial step by the authorities to deal with the fresh outbreak of the disease, a total of over 1,300 chickens suspected of carrying the deadly H5N1 virus were slaughtered and the farm was sterilized.

Days after the bird flu was reported in Yangon, the areas in a radius of one kilometers (km) to the affected farm have been placed as restriction zone and three townships of Mayangon, Yankin and South Okkalapa in a radius of 10 km as bird movement control zone where livestock trading markets have been temporarily closed for three weeks among measures to deal with the disease.

Myanmar announced confirmation of bird flu outbreak in four townships in Yangon -- Mayangon, Thingungyun, Insein and Hlaingtharya.

In the aftermath of the disease outbreak, Myanmar had been taking increased preventive measures against bird flu, calling on the public to cooperate with the authorities for the move.

Meanwhile, experts from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNAID have further confirmed the February outbreak of bird flu H5N1 in two townships of Mayangon and Hlaingtharya after rapid tests were carried out on samples of dead chickens there.

Meanwhile, an agreement on immediate technical assistance to strengthen emergency preparedness for highly pathogenic avian influenza was signed Saturday between Myanmar's LBVD and the FAO and the assistance includes equipment worth of 600,000 U.S. dollars donated by the USAID to be used in preventive measures against the disease.

According to the LBVD reports, no human cases have so far been detected with bird flu virus in Yangon despite close monitoring on 300 people who were in touch with birds carrying H5N1 but a special hospital has been arranged for treatment of those suspected of being with the virus.

The recurrence of the deadly influenza in February in Myanmar came nearly six months after it declared itself bird-flu-free in the country in September last year after making sure then that no virus had been present in the country during a three-month program on detection of avian influenza carried out with the cooperation of foreign experts.

Myanmar was first hit by H5N1 bird flu in March 2006 in Mandalay and Sagaing, and since then altogether 342,000 chickens, 320,000 quails and 180,000 eggs as well as 1.3 tons of feedstuff were destroyed at 545 poultry farms.

Source: Xinhua

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