Myanmar culls thousands of chickens

Authorities have culled 5,000 chickens and banned the sale of chicken and eggs near a farm in Myanmar's second largest city Mandalay, where the country's first case of the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus was detected, an official said Wednesday.

Myanmar found the virus last week after 112 chickens died on a farm outside Mandalay, 720 kilometers (450 miles) north of Yangon.

"Five thousand chickens from seven poultry farms have been slaughtered, and experts are inspecting farms within a 3-kilometer (2-mile) radius of the infected area," said Than Daing, deputy director general of the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department.

Authorities banned the sale and transport of chicken and eggs in the area "as a precautionary measure in accordance with international practice," Than Daing said.

News about the country's first case of bird flu has not yet been reported in official media. A livestock department notice was distributed to poultry farms and local authorities, and posted on the livestock ministry's Web site.

The March 13 notice said there was an outbreak of "suspected avian influenza" in Sagaing division and Mandalay in the last week of February and early March.

Most people have learned about the outbreak through foreign media outlets, reports the AP.


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