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  • AFD - Myanmar

    October 2, 2008

    Myanmar Worries Over Early Arrival of Migratory Birds

    # 2349

    The debate over the role of migratory birds in the spread of bird flu is a contentious one, with many believing that the illegal poultry trade is a bigger factor.

    Like the `Taste's Great' vs 'Less filling' debate, this one is a long way from being decided.

    Poultry producers and traders would love to place the blame squarely on migratory birds, while many naturalists and bird fanciers point the finger of blame at the poultry industry.

    Of course, from my decidedly amateurish position, I can see how both could substantially contribute to the spread of the virus, with migratory birds being a larger factor in some areas more than in others.

    I don't see this as being an `either or' decision. Of course, unlike some people, I don't have a bird in this fight.

    This report from Xinhua News.

    Migratory birds pre-entry alerts Myanmar against bird flu 2008-10-02 20:44:05

    YANGON, Oct. 2 (Xinhua) -- The pre-entry of migratory wild birds into Myanmar territory two months ahead of winter has alerted the country to take preventive measures against probable recurrence of bird flu, according to Thursday's local Biweekly Eleven journal.

    It was noticed that migratory birds have started to fly in the Inlay Lake region, southern part of Shan state, over the past week and by December when the cold season fully sets in, there would be large gathering of such birds in Myanmar territory that constitutes threat of spreading the disease, the report said.

    Migratory birds are scientifically considered as the carrier of deadly H5N1 virus from one place to another.

    Inlay lake is a place where about 250 species of various birds rest.

    The warning against movement of such migratory birds also covered that to Indawgyi Lake and Moein region in northernmost Kachin state. Other areas are listed as western coastal Rakhine state's Budidaung and Maungtaw.

    Migratory birds from different regions across the world used to fly over Myanmar territory during the winter season period between November and February, especially December, said experts.

    The authorities have also called for keeping awareness about the modes of infection of the avian influenza and intensifying precautionary and educational measures to prevent any occurrence in humans and birds.

    Meanwhile, Myanmar is cooperating with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in prevention against avian influenza.

    In April this year, the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) declared Myanmar as a bird-flu-free country three months after the country was proved that there was no residual bird flu virus remained over the period since January.

    Over the past two years since February 2006 until the last in December 2007, there were numerous outbreaks of the avian influenza in Myanmar covering 25 townships of six states and divisions.

    All of the occurrences were blamed for infecting 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 Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department.

    Myanmar reported outbreak of the avian influenza 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 inYangon division's Hmawby in October the same year.

    Despite the declaration as a bird-flu-free country, the Myanmar livestock authorities continued to call for the country's people to exercise a long-term precaution against the deadly H5N1 bird flu.