Poultry farmers in Mon State were called to an urgent meeting on March 6 to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the deadly H5N1 bird flu to the state. The Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department called the distributors in after an avian flu outbreak in Monywa, Sagaing Region, led to the death of hundreds of thousands of diseased birds.
About 15 people, representing the four big poultry distributors in Mawlamyine, attended the meeting. Each owner has more than 10,000 chickens.
Dr Chit Thein, Mawlamyine township chief officer, said after the meeting, “The best way to prevent infection is get all the distributors from this area together and provide guidelines to prevent further infection in Mon State.” Outbreaks of H5N1 also occurred in 2006 and 2011.
He said the authorities had advised poultry dealers to go to the markets with municipal experts to inspect the birds on sale, and to apply pesticide on their farms.
U Hla Than, owner of the U Noe Din family farm, told The Myanmar Times that some chickens had died in his area, but only because of high temperatures. “The flu is not here yet, so we are trying to prevent infection by requiring that chickens bought from outside Mon State be accompanied by a letter guaranteeing its good health. And we also isolate the runs of any culled chickens for 20 days for cleansing,” he said.
Farm owner Arkar Min confirmed that any chickens bought out-of-state would have to be guaranteed healthy by the local Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department. “That is the only way we can prevent infection from unhealthy chickens being imported to Mawlamyine,” he said.
The Ministry of Livestock. Fisheries and Rural Development has confirmed the deaths of chickens and quail in Monywa because of bird flu. As of March 1, about 250,000 birds had been destroyed there.
The chief officer of Mawlamyine Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department, Dr Ni Ni Maw, told the meeting that everyone shared a responsibility to prevent infection because the flu was dangerous not only to birds, but also to humans, who had not yet been infected in an H5N1 outbreak in Myanmar.