It’s been several years since we last heard about H5N1 in Myanmar (aka `Burma’), although like other low-resource, developing, and/or secretive areas of the world we don’t exactly enjoy a reliable stream of news and disease outbreak information from there.
Many areas are remote, and exotic disease surveillance – if it exists at all – is often very patchy.
Myanmar first reported H5N1 in 2006, but the last time we heard from there was in 2011 when we saw Bird Flu Reported On Poultry Farm, and before that in March of 2010 we saw Myanmar Reporting New Bird Flu Activity. The sole human infection reported was in 2007 (see WHO Update: Myanmar Reports Human Infection) which involved a 7-year old girl who survived.
Overnight Crof posted a report from Reuters (see Crofsblog Myanmar culls chickens, quail to contain H5N1 outbreak) on a new outbreak of H5N1 reported in the center of the country, near Mandalay.
While I don’t find anything posted yet on the Myanmar Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development or OIE Alerts website, we’ve another report (h/t Gert van der Hoek of FluTrackers) from The Irrawaddy.
By THE IRRAWADDY| Thursday, February 26, 2015 |
RANGOON — The government has confirmed an avian flu outbreak in a poultry farming area in upper Burma, according to an announcement in state-run media on Thursday.
A statement released by the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development said that a number of chickens and quail have been found dead at poultry farms in Monywa, Sagaing Division since Feb. 10, leading to a laboratory confirmation of the presence of the H5N1 influenza virus in the animal carcasses.
Up to Wednesday, more than 10,000 chickens and quail have died from the virus, and more than 20,000 have been culled, according to Sagaing Division’s Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department.
As with both Nigeria and Bulgaria earlier in the year, we seem to be seeing the H5N1 virus pop up in places where we’ve seen it before, but not for several years.
By contrast, Indonesia, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and even Vietnam – all former hotspots for the virus – have been surprisingly quiet on the bird flu front.
Coming into this winter H7N9 was expected to be the big bird flu story, but the abrupt arrival of H5N8 in Europe, Taiwan, and North America, the big surge of human H5N1 infection in Egypt, and the return of H5N1 to its old haunts show just how unpredictable avian flu continues to be.