Heightened inspection procedures will be implemented at every entry and exit checkpoint leading to Yangon region to prevent the spread of H5N1 strain of bird flu, after it had been first detected in Monywa township on February 26, according to an official from the Myanmar Livestock Federation (MLF).
“During the course of this outbreak, poultry products coming into Yangon will be inspected to determine if they suitable for human consumption. The regional government has also been informed of this situation,” Dr Hla Hla Thein, vice chairperson of MLF, told Myanmar Business Today.
Chicken, duck, goose, and quail products from Bago and Ayeyarwaddy regions, which are major poultry suppers to Yangon, will need accreditation from the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) to enter Yangon.
There is no direct poultry trade between Yangon and Monywa township, which is about 525 miles (840 km) northwest of Yangon, said Dr Hla Hla Thein.
According to local media reports, more than 1,400 chickens and 10,000 quail had died in the Monywa outbreak and about 1,500 chickens and more than 20,000 quail had been culled. The disease was brought under control and was not known to have spread to humans, Reuters reported.
“When an outbreak occurs, every state and region is quarantined. The H5N1 strain first appeared in 2003 in other countries, and first appeared around 2006 in Myanmar. By now, authorities at the location of the outbreak will be investigating the source of the outbreak, and it is expected that they will find it within the next ten days,” said a former official from the LBVD.
Poultry markets and farms are increasing their biohazard security procedures, taking such measures as spraying antibiotic solutions on chickens daily in markets and farms, up from twice per week previously. They have also been installing sanitation facilities to prevent farmers from being contaminated.
Live poultry is mainly traded in Kyeq Beq market in Yangon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt township, Ywar Mat market in Insein township, Kyimyindaing and Hlaing Tharyar markets. Around 45,000 viss (72,000 kilograms) of poultry is traded daily in Kyeq Beq market alone, according to traders.
H5N1, which first infected humans in 1997 in Hong Kong, has since spread from Asia to Europe and Africa.