The Myanmar livestock authorities Monday called on the country's people to exercise a long-term precaution against the recurrence of deadly H5N1 bird flu.
The call on livestock breeders, traders and consumers was made by the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department in the wake of intermittent occurrence of the avian influenza in some neighboring countries.
Despite absence of outbreak of the disease for already two months since the last in December, precaution should continuously be made in cooperation with the authorities for effective prevention, said a notification of the department to the public carried in the local-language state newspaper Myanmar Alin.
The notification outlined some precaution measures to be taken against the probable re-strike of the H5N1 which cover stepping up of bio-security measures during the bird-flu-sensitive season, change of livestock breeding system, avoidance of illegal import, transport and trading of chickens and its products, and prompt report of suspected bird flu case.
The notification recalled that the numerous outbreaks of the avian influenza in Myanmar since February 2006 until the last in December 2007 happened in the country's 25 townships of six states and divisions.
All of the occurrences were attributed to the infection from abroad especially that the virus was carried into the country by migratory birds from the cold regions in the world infecting local birds, according to the notification..
There occurred two bird flu cases in a latest series in Myanmar border area near the end of last year. The prior was on Nov. 18 when H5N1 was detected on some chickens and ducks of local species which died unusually at a village farm in Kengtung, eastern Shan state.
The local authorities culled 14,889 chickens, ducks, geese and Muscovy ducks within a week after such unusual deaths were found on the fowls traded in the area.
The latter, which was a human-infected case, was detected in December in the state's Mongphyat township following unusual deaths of domestic chickens in the Yankham village. It was assessed that the Nov. 18 bird flu had spread to the area, infecting a seven-year-old girl, Ma Nan Kham Tha, who was later discharged from a local hospital in Kengtung on Dec. 12 after treatment.
The girl was infected with bird flu virus among four suspected of carrying the virus during the November outbreak in Kengtung and she was kept in quarantine and given a dosage of timiflu pills at a local People's Hospital since Nov. 27 until her discharge.
However, there reported no infection on other people after monitoring the close contact persons for 10 days.
Myanmar reported outbreak of bird flu in the country for the first time in some poultry farms in Mandalay and Sagaing divisions in early 2006, followed by those in Yangon division in early 2007, in Mon state's Thanbyuzayat and western Bago division's Letpadan in July and in eastern Bago division's Thanatpin and in Yangon division's Hmawby in October the same year.
During 2006's first outbreak of bird flu cases in the two divisions of Mandalay and Sagaing, 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, official statistics show.
During the early 2007 outbreak of the disease from Feb. 28 to March 31 at seven poultry farms in Yangon's five townships -- Mayangon, Hlaingtharya, North Okkalapa, Mingaladon and Hmawby, nearly 2,000 fowls died of the virus with 65,812 poultry from the affected farms and those nearby culled.
In July 2007 occurrence of the H5N1, all chickens of the two farms in Thanbyuzayat and about 4,000 broilers raising at a poultry farm in Letpadan, totaling over 5,000 were culled for risk prevention under then Early Detection and Containment Program.
In its fight against the disease, Myanmar has been cooperating with experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization and USAID.
(Xinhua/Agencies March 3, 2008)