Avian Flu Strikes Poultry Farms in Sagaing Division

By Zarni Mann 19 April 2016

MANDALAY — Surveillance of the poultry trade in Sagaing Division’s Monywa Township has been ramped up after an avian flu outbreak over the past several weeks.

Some 500 chickens from Monywa poultry farms have died since March 31, after being infected with the H9N2 strain of avian flu. Local authorities have since killed over 20,000 chickens and restricted poultry trade from farms in the area.

“With the help of the police and fire brigades, we have been able to control the avian flu [outbreak in Monywa] and have killed the infected animals and restricted poultry trade,” said Myint Naing, chief minister of Sagaing Division.

There are 250 poultry farms in Monywa’s livestock farming zone, about six of which have reported cases of avian flu since the end of March. The Ministry of Health said in a statement on Saturday that there have been no reports of humans having contracted avian flu in the area.

“We can’t control the entire poultry market in the division, but we plan to investigate nearby villages and towns and will prohibit trade with poultry farms in Monywa,” Myint Naing said.

“Though H9N2 is not as severe as H5N1, and there have been no reports of human infection, it is important to take precautions. I ask poultry farmers and traders to inform the authorities of any chicken deaths without delay.”

In particular, the chief minister urged poultry farmers not to hide the deaths of potentially infected animals for fear of losing their farm.

“Once a chicken is infected, it is necessary to destroy almost every animal from that farm, since we have no vaccine here to prevent the spread of the [avian] flu,” he said.

“The divisional government is taking data on farmers’ losses and will work with the central government for possible compensation for loss due to avian flu,” Myint Naing added.

Poultry farms in the same livestock farming zone in Monywa were also struck by an avian flu outbreak in early 2015, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of chickens.