Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Committee formed to fight avian flu in Pyinmana

Wednesday, 09 February 2011 21:23 Kyaw Kha

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – After an outbreak of avian flu in the area, the Pyinmana Township Peace and Development Committee (TPDC) has formed a resident-based anti-avian flu committee comprising six teams.

Thousands of culled chickens have been disinfected
and buried after the avian flu has been reported in
four different locations in Burma. Photo :
The committee, made up of the Veterinary and Animal Husbandry Department, the city development department, the police department, the fire department and the Red Cross, will work on the eradication and prevention of the disease, said  committee officials.

‘We made field visits to villages near Naypyidaw and Pyinmana besides urban areas to inspect the poultry farms. We also set up checkpoints at the entry to the city to block the flow of poultry in and out of town’, a committee member told Mizzima.

The committee has the authority to ban or to allow the selling of chickens in the township and to supervise the trade. Members said the committee is also looking into the transportation of chickens and eggs near Sugar Mill junction on the main route to Pyinmana and Naypyidaw.

The H5N1 virus was first found at an egg-producing poultry farm owned in Paywetseikkone village, in the Thitlaylone village tract on the outskirt of Pyinmana. The virus reportedly spread to nearby domesticated chickens, according to the health department in Naypyidaw.

The Paywetseikkone village poultry farm was infected with the virus by chickens brought from Taungoo in Pegu Division and similar avian flu cases were reported in Taungo, officials said.

‘The cars on the city ring-road and the road leading to Nyaungbinthar are being inspected whether they are transporting banned chickens or not, because the roads are the main route for transporting chickens into the city’, a committee member told Mizzima.

He said that selling chickens was banned in markets in Pyinmana and Naypyidaw last week when the first avian flu cases were reported, but the sale of chickens has been resumed  under the supervision of the authorities.

Deputy Director General Dr. Saw Lwin of the national Health Department said that all chickens were culled in Paywetseikkone village, where the avian flu cases were first reported. The culled animals were put in polythene bags and buried after being sprayed with disinfectant.

‘We have focused our work on preventing human infection, culling chickens from infected poultry farms and then doing medical checkups for our staff’, Saw Lwin said.

An editor of a Rangoon-based news journal, noting the proximity of the area to Naypyidaw, told Mizzima: ‘They took action immediately on this case because the area is around Naypyidaw where the top leaders reside. If they had taken such immediate actions in natural disasters like cyclones Nargis and Giri, the people would not have suffered so much’.

Similarly, chickens from 75 poultry farms in a one-kilometer radius of a poultry farm in Bumayletthama village in Sittwe, where a strain of ‘highly pathogenic avian influenza’ (HPAI) virus was first found on January 12, received prompt attention from the authorities, who culled a large number of chickens.

In another case, the H5N1 virus was found in a poultry farm on February 2 in Bomya Ward, Tantse Township, Sagaing Division, where chickens were culled. The virus has been found in four areas so far this year.

The H5N1 virus was first reported in Burma in 2006, when it infected one person in Kengtung in Shan State. The man survived, said Saw Lwin.

According to a World Health Organisation report, the H5N1 virus infected 519 people in 15 countries from 2003 to February 2, 2011 and 306 of them died from the virus.

Countries reporting cases of the virus this year are Burma, South Korea, Egypt, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and Japan. A total of 63 countries have reported cases of the virus from 2003 to February 3, 2011, according to a report issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation.

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