Bird Flu

Bangladesh’s authorities have culled 2,268 chickens following a fresh outbreak of bird flu at a commercial farm last week in Dhamrai on the outskirts of capital Dhaka, an official said Tuesday.

Habibur Rahman, a government’s bird flu control official, told Xinhua, “We’ve detected avian influenza, known as H5N1, in a commercial farm last week.”

“Some 2,268 chickens were culled on Jan. 16 after detecting avian influenza in the commercial farm,” he said.

Apart from this, he said eight to nine crows were found dead in Rajshahi district, 256 km northwest of capital Dhaka, earlier this month.

The wild crows were later tested positive for highly contagious H5N1 bird flu virus, he said.

Rahman said his department is yet to confirm the sources of fresh attacks of the disease, “but it may be due to germs of bird flu remained as we faced huge outbreak in the past years.”

Special steps have already been taken to further motivate farmers to adopt preventive measures since the disease found to reemerge after no-outbreak during winter last year, he said.

The control room official expected that there will not be massive outbreak of the disease this time as Bangladesh is near to the end of the dangerous period, the winter season which is the high time for outbreak of the disease.

With the rise of temperature in March and April, he said risk factors of bird flu disease will continue to ease off in Bangladesh.

The bird flu was first detected in Bangladesh in a poultry farm near Dhaka in March 2007. The situation deteriorated later on as the virus spread fast across the country which was reported in 47 districts between December 2007 and March 2008.

About 50 percent of the country’s 150,000 poultry farms were closed and more than 1.5 million chickens, ducks and pigeons were culled as of the end of March, 2008 in which the Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association (BPIA) estimated a loss of about 75 billion taka (about 1.07 billion U.S. dollars).

Following the fresh outbreak of the bird flu this year, industry leaders suggested the country’s around 70,000 commercial farmers to follow more scientific methods of farming.

They also stressed the need ensuring more safe and hygienic poultry production.

MM Khan, secretary general of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Association (BPIA), said ample precautionary measures including proper vaccination will help prevent potential infection from wild birds.

“Its true to say that our poultry industry is now more dynamic and resilient,” said Khan.

The possibility of further infections cannot be completely ruled out, he said, adding that there is no possibility of major outbreaks at all like those in past.

Khan said poultry meat production in Bangladesh over the last years rose to a large extent though the number of farmers are being squeezed since the industry suffered a huge blow in 2007 and subsequent years due to bird flu.

Bangladesh’s poultry industry suffered huge losses as bird flu caused over 1.98 million chickens’ death since March 2007 in the country, the government’s bird flu control room data showed.

The first bird flu in human body in Bangladesh was detected on May 21, 2008. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, diagnosed a 16-month-old Bangladesh child as being infected with H5N1 who later recovered. Enditem

Source: Naim-Ul-Karim, Xinhua/


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