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Myanmar Declares Itself Free from Bird Flu

by VR Sreeraman on  April 21, 2008 at 12:07 PM Bird Flu News   - G J E 4
Myanmar's military government on Sunday declared the country bird-flu free after three months without an outbreak of the deadly virus, state media reported.
Myanmar Declares Itself Free from Bird Flu
Myanmar Declares Itself Free from Bird Flu
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The Myanmar-language Mirror newspaper said authorities had "sent the announcement of a bird flu-free Myanmar" to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation, and supplied evidence.

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The last known outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus was in eastern Shan State last November, the paper said, and was under control by January this year.

Myanmar last declared itself free of avian influenza in September 2006 after outbreaks in the central city of Mandalay.

But in early 2007, thousands more chickens, birds and ducks had to be killed after fresh outbreaks in and around the economic hub Yangon and in the central region of Bago.

In December, Myanmar and the World Health Organisation announced that a seven-year-old girl from Shan state had become the first confirmed human case of bird flu in the country.

She was hospitalised in late November before being discharged in December after showing signs of recovery.

Myanmar's military rulers normally operate behind a veil of secrecy, but the regime has won praise from the United Nations for its openness in tackling bird flu, despite its run-down health system.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed 240 people worldwide, mostly in Southeast Asia, since late 2003, World Health Organisation figures show.

The strain is mainly an animal disease, but scientists fear it could mutate to easily jump from human to human, sparking a deadly global pandemic.

Source: AFP
SRM/L
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