Bangladesh, Cambodia battle new H5N1 outbreaks

Apr 16, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Bangladesh's livestock ministry said today that H5N1 avian influenza has spread to two more farms, and Cambodian officials have reported poultry outbreaks near where a 13-year-old girl recently died of the disease, according to news services.

The outbreak areas in Bangladesh include a farm in the western Jessore district near the Indian border, while the other is in Savar district near the capital, Dhaka, a livestock ministry spokesperson told Reuters.

The new outbreaks were reported 2 days after a team of investigators from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) arrived in Dhaka to collect information on recent outbreaks and suggest containment measures, according to another Reuters report today.

FAO representative Ad Spigkers told Reuters that a 10-member FAO team would spend 2 weeks in Bangladesh visiting affected farms and laboratories and interviewing farmers and government specialists.

"The government is wondering how and why it came here. We are trying to get our finger on it," Spigkers told Reuters. "There is a lot of work [to be done], every country has its special conditions. It's a densely populated country, many chickens, many ducks."

In mid March, Bangladesh reported its first H5N1 outbreak, which struck layer chickens at a three farms near Dhaka, according to a Mar 30 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The source of the infection was unknown. Since then, 79,000 chickens have been culled on 32 farms in eight districts, Reuters reported.

Myanmar, on Bangladesh's eastern border, reported outbreaks at several poultry farms in early April.

On Apr 14, agriculture officials in Cambodia said an outbreak had been discovered earlier in the week in backyard poultry in Kampong Cham province, prompting the culling of 100 birds, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported today. The outbreak area was in the same district where a 13-year-girl recently died from an H5N1 infection.

Cambodia reported its first poultry outbreak of 2007 to the OIE on Apr 12. The outbreak involved backyard poultry at five households in one village in Kampong Cham province, about 77 miles east of Phnom Penh. The disease killed 302 of 1,086 susceptible birds; the rest were destroyed. The source of the infection was not determined. It was not clear whether the outbreak referred to in the AFP report was separate from the one Cambodia reported to the OIE.

Cambodia's last poultry outbreak occurred in March 2006.

See also:

OIE reports on 2007 outbreaks in Cambodia and Bangladesh

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