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Myanmar reports first bird flu outbreak

The military-ruled nation has reported its first outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in poultry around the central city of Mandalay.

india Updated: Mar 13, 2006 11:18 IST

Myanmar has reported its first outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu in poultry around the central city of Mandalay, a senior official with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Monday.

Some 400 chickens died in Mandalay last week, and the government had sent samples of the dead birds to Australia and Thailand to confirm whether they had the virus.

"The government is investigating. At the moment, it is still suspected. The government sent samples to Bangkok and Australia for confirmation," a WHO official said in Yangon.

If confirmed, it would be Myanmar's first bird flu outbreak. The WHO official expected test results by the end of this week.

The deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu, which humans can catch from infected birds, has killed at least 98 people in Southeast Asia and China and is now spreading rapidly through Europe and parts of Africa.

Of 22 confirmed human bird flu cases in neighboring Thailand, 14 have died. Most of the bird flu deaths here were either children or elderly people with weak immune systems.

First Published: Mar 13, 2006 11:09 IST