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. Bird Outbreaks In Four Countries

Following the news of the outbreak, Indonesian officials announced that they were to begin culling 3,000 chickens in the region in an attempt to prevent the outbreak from spreading. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Kate Walker
UPI Correspondent
Washington DC (UPI) Sep 13, 2006
Avian-influenza outbreaks in birds have surfaced in four countries in recent days, with Egypt, Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam all reporting incidences of H5N1 infection.

In its first reported infections in two months, Egyptian officials announced that avian flu had been found in four birds, all part of domestic flocks. Three of the cases were discovered in Cairo, while the fourth was found in a small village near Sohag, in the south of the country.

The infections were detected during random tests on Egyptian birds conducted as a bird-flu control measure.

Hassan el-Bushra, regional adviser for communicable diseases surveillance at the World Health Organization, said of the discoveries: "It is significant. It tells us that the virus is still circulating."

It is hoped that these recent infections will not spark a wider outbreak of the sort seen earlier this year, when Egypt became the country to record the highest number of human infections -- 14, and six deaths -- outside of Asia.

Since the initial emergence of bird flu in Egypt in February this year, the Agriculture Ministry has been at work inoculating the country's poultry flocks. The majority of commercial flocks have already been vaccinated, and the Agriculture Ministry says that approximately 20 percent of backyard flocks have also been inoculated. The vaccination program should prevent this latest outbreak from spreading, ministry officials said.

Indonesia's West Java province, the site of a number of human infections this year, has reported an outbreak of avian flu in the town of Kuningan, where 596 chickens died at the end of August.

The presence of avian influenza was confirmed Tuesday.

Nana Adnan, head of the West Java veterinary office, said: "The 596 chickens died of bird flu based on rapid tests (at the scene) and laboratory tests."

Following the news of the outbreak, Indonesian officials announced that they were to begin culling 3,000 chickens in the region in an attempt to prevent the outbreak from spreading.

Cambodian officials Tuesday announced that there had been an outbreak of avian flu in ducks in the east of the country.

Seven hundred birds in the Bateay district of the eastern province of Kampong Cham died last week, prompting the Agriculture Ministry to conduct tests on live and dead birds. The test results, which were returned Saturday, confirmed the presence of H5N1 in both live and dead ducks in the area.

According to senior Cambodian agricultural officials, the ministry responded to the news of the confirmation by beginning the widespread culling of all live ducks in the vicinity.

In August, a village near to the site of the current outbreak saw a wave of avian-influenza infections in ducks in which 2,000 died. It is believed that these latest cases may have stemmed from that outbreak.

The sudden deaths of more than 100 Vietnamese ducks have sparked fears of yet another avian-influenza outbreak in the badly hit country.

In Vietnam's second outbreak this year, a wave of ducks in the south of the country died of what is so far only suspected to be avian influenza. Samples from the dead birds have been sent to the Ho Chi Minh City Regional Veterinary Centre for testing; there is as yet no news of when the results are to be expected.

When news of the possible outbreak emerged, Vietnamese veterinary officials culled 400 birds in the area.

In more positive bird-flu news, Myanmar has declared itself to be free of avian influenza.

According to Myanmar's state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper, a three-month avian-influenza detection program turned up no new cases. As a result, the country has officially declared itself to be free of the disease.

In late April livestock officials began working with a team of international avian-flu experts to determine whether avian flu had taken hold in the country. The three-month program established that bird flu had not spread beyond Mandalay and Sagaing, where bird flu was first detected in March. Additionally, there were no further signs of infection in the two central provinces.

Following the completion of the three-month program, Myanmar's Livestock Ministry was able to "declare Myanmar as a nation free from bird flu," New Light of Myanmar reported.

Avian flu first emerged in Myanmar's quails and chickens earlier this year. The country has seen no human infections.

Source: United Press International

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