Experts from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UNAID have further confirmed the recent outbreak of bird flu H5N1 in two townships of Myanmar's Yangon, according to an official newspaper Sunday.
The outbreak of H5N1 virus in the Mayangon and the Hlaingtharya townships in Yangon was further confirmed by the two UN organizations after rapid tests were carried out on samples of dead chickens in the two townships, the New Light of Myanmar said.
Myanmar had earlier announced confirmation of bird flu outbreak in four townships in Yangon -- Mayangon, Thingungyun, Insein and Hlaingtharya.
Meanwhile, an agreement on immediate technical assistance to strengthen emergency preparedness for highly pathogenic avian influenza was signed Saturday between Myanmar's Livestock Breeding Veterinary Department (LBVD) and the FAO, the report also said, adding that the assistance includes equipment worth of 600,000 US dollars donated by the USAID to be used in preventive measures against the disease.
Suspicious avian influenza was first detected by Myanmar itself in a small private poultry farm in northwestern Yangon's suburban township of Mayangon after laboratory test was done on some dead chickens on Feb. 27.
As an initial step by the authorities to deal with the fresh outbreak of the disease, a total of over 1,300 chickens suspected of carrying the deadly H5N1 virus were slaughtered and the farm was sterilized.
Days after the bird flu was reported in Yangon, the areas in a radius of one kilometers (km) to the affected farm have been placed as restriction zone and three townships of Mayangon, Yankin and South Okkalapa in a radius of 10 km as bird movement control zone where livestock trading markets have been temporarily closed for three weeks among measures to deal with the disease.
In the aftermath of the disease outbreak, Myanmar has been taking increased preventive measures against bird flu, calling on the public to cooperate with the authorities for the move.
Meanwhile, the authorities said no new bird flu virus has been found on deaths of 234 crows, pigeons, sparrows, quails and owls in townships in Yangon since the end of February amid the latest outbreak of bird flu.
According to daily reports of the Livestock Breeding Veterinary Department (LBVD) as of Saturday through official media, the deaths of them were due to temperature change of the season and eating poisonous food, heat stroke, chronic respiratory disease, enteritis, pigeon pox, poison and injury.
The LBVD's reports also said no human cases have so far been detected with bird flu virus in Yangon despite close monitoring on 300 people who were in touch with birds carrying H5N1 but a special hospital has been arranged for treatment of those suspected of being with the virus.
The recurrence of the deadly influenza in Myanmar came nearly six months after it declared itself bird-flu-free in the country in September last year after making sure then that no virus had been present in the country during a three-month program on detection of avian influenza carried out with the cooperation of foreign experts.
Myanmar was first hit by H5N1 bird flu in March 2006 in Mandalay and Sagaing, and since then altogether 342,000 chickens, 320,000 quails and 180,000 eggs as well as 1.3 tons of feedstuff were destroyed at 545 poultry farms.