Bird flu likely to enter Myanmar via border trade

Bird flu likely to enter Myanmar via border trade

A new strain of bird flu has been identified in India and China, and it might enter into Myanmar through the illegal trading of chickens and ducks across Myanmar's borders.

Myanmar's border areas are a source of high demand for chickens, which they import for cheap prices from neighbouring countries.

"It can be assumed that the new outbreak of bird flu in India comes from wild birds. These birds also live in Myanmar and can carry the disease. What is more, the illegal trade of chickens and chicken products from the border areas can spread the disease.

Illegally imported chicken products are much cheaper than the legal option. H5N1 is affecting in India, and H7N9 has been found in China.

As of now, no such bird flu has been found in Myanmar. But it can enter, especially if livestock owners do not inform the authorities about the disease for fear of losing their chickens," an expert said.

Bird flu can infect humans through wild birds, chickens, Muscovy duck, chicken-feed and syringes used on birds.

"There have been a bird flu epidemics in Myanmar. However, there have been no abnormal chicken deaths this time," said Dr Kyaw Naing Oo from the Research and Disease Control Department.

The Livestock Department is conducting projects in the border areas to control the outbreak of H5N1 and H7N9 within the country.

H5N1 has broken out in Myanmar six times between 2006 to 2012 in Sagaing Region and Bago Region, according to the Livestock Department's announcement.

There were some abnormal chicken deaths in 2013 in some areas, according to experts and livestock owners, but the department has not released data for that year.

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