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Bird flu under control in Myanmar: Govt official

The comments came a few days after the UN said the situation in this impoverished nation was more serious than originally thought.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2006 17:06 IST

Bird flu in Myanmar has been brought under control, and restrictions will be lifted in two affected regions by the end of the month, a livestock official said Wednesday, just days after the UN said the situation in this impoverished nation was more serious than originally thought.

Several areas have been free from infection for one or two weeks, said Dr Than Tun, director of the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department.

"The situation seemed serious because of several outbreaks around March 24-28, but the situation is under control now," Than Tun said.

On March 13, authorities confirmed bird flu outbreaks in the central Mandalay and Sagaing regions.

A report by a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation expert who inspected those areas noted that "the last date of bird flu infection and culling (in Mandalay) was April 5 and the disease has been brought under control," the livestock department announced in a statement on Wednesday.

It said the FAO expert, identified as Dr Prasat, inspected the regions from March 28 to April 10, and that restrictions in Mandalay and Sagaing would be lifted by the end of April.

As of Tuesday, authorities had culled a total of 326,884 chickens and 317,305 quails, and destroyed 175,338 chicken and quail eggs, it said.

On Monday in Bangkok, He Changchui, the FAO's regional representative, said authorities had revised initial reports that there were only two outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 virus in Myanmar.

"The situation there was more serious than we imagined," he said. "Up to now, there are over 100 outbreaks."

The World Health Organization will send a team to inspect the bird flu situation in Myanmar at the end of this month.

Myanmar ranks as one of the world's poorest nations, with its military rulers suspicious of foreign influence and reluctant to reveal the seriousness of problems it faces, including the rampant spread of AIDS.

First Published: Apr 14, 2006 17:06 IST