Bird flu in 6 Dhaka markets

Dhaka (The Daily Star/ANN) - Bird flu has hit six poultry markets in the capital.

In the last 15 days, three workers from one of the markets came down with the flu; however, they have recovered.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B) made the detections.

The affected markets are among the 16 poultry markets that are under constant surveillance by the two research organisations, IEDCR sources say.

In the wake of the latest developments, the Department of Livestock Services at a meeting on Wednesday decided to form 10 committees to monitor all poultry markets in the capital.

The committees will be comprised of livestock officials and personnel from the health ministry, police and Bangladesh Ansar.

Musaddique Hossain, a director of livestock services, said they had issued letters to all the stakeholders in poultry trading and processing, asking them to comply with the Animal Disease Act, 2008 that prohibits selling sick fowls.

Each committee will take steps including checking movement of ill or dead fowls, compelling poultry workers to use gloves and masks and to treat bloods, faeces and feathers properly, he said.

Experts say the recent detection of bird flu in market places indicates that more farms affected with the virus are yet to be traced and fowls from these farms are being sold without disclosing the contamination.

IEDCR and ICDDR sources say the flu might spread to other markets from the affected six if precautions are not taken. They have not mentioned the names of the patients or the markets.

This bird flu season, experts say, poultry farmers are not interested to screen their birds seriously, as the government has not compensated the previously affected farms yet.

In Bangladesh, the outbreak of the flu, caused by H5N1 virus, begins in November and continues till April.

"Due to fund constraints, this bird flu season we are yet to start paying out compensation to the affected farmers. The process will begin soon,¿ said Musaddique Hossain, also the country's chief veterinary officer.

Khaled Saifullah Sohel, secretary of Poultry Farmers' Association, told this correspondent that this season farm owners are feeling insecure. If they find any sort of avian flu symptoms in their birds, they hurriedly sell them, fearing financial loss.

Situation was quite the opposite last year, he added. The compensation was sufficient and farmers did not conceal any information of flu symptom.

Musaddique said last year they provided 70 taka (US$.85) for each culled boiler, 150 taka ($1.8) for each layer and 250 taka ($3) for a breeder. Of the total compensation, the government was bearing the half and World Bank the rest.

ASM Alamgir of IEDCR said H5N1 virus could be easily spread through affected fowls, eggs, faeces, blood, egg crates and vehicles which are used to carry poultry.

About the three infected workers, he said the patients became cured as they were diagnosed at the early stage.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the death rate of bird flu affected patients is 58.95 per cent across the globe.

In 2003-2012, a total of 592 persons were diagnosed with avian influenza in 16 countries, including Bangladesh, and 349 of them died from the disease, a WHO report said.

In Bangladesh, so far six persons have been diagnosed with the flu since 2008 with no casualty reported.

According to the livestock services, this season 12 farms have been found infected and 42,000 fowls culled. However, experts and farm owners say the real number is much higher.

  • Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day 1 hour 47 minutes ago
    Look, don't touch: Flickr photo of the day

    If there's one car that's particularly sought-after among today's well-heeled car collectors, a Ferrari 250 would be it. Usually it's the GTO variant, like the 1963 that sold for a record $52 million last year. A 250 of any sorts demands unfathomable cash, however, which is why we can but gawk at this 250 Testa Rossa. It's as close as any mere mortal will ever come to owning one.

  • Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners 2 hours 43 minutes ago
    Peeling out at Octane Academy, the free driving school for Ford ST owners

    Buyers of Ferraris or Jaguars are used to perks from manufacturers – including racetrack lessons to help master their exotic machines. But for enthusiasts on a tighter budget, the Ford ST Octane Academy might be the sweetest deal in motoring: Buy a Ford Fiesta ST or Focus ST hatchback, and the reward is a free day of training at one of America’s longest, most-lavish road courses.

  • Why you can't buy America's greenest car 5 hours ago
    Why you can't buy America's greenest car

    Ask me or any auto expert what's the fastest car you can buy for any given amount, and we could easily cough up several options. Same for most luxurious, or off-roadable, or any other measurement. Yet there's one type of question that's far harder to answer: What's the greenest, most environmentally friendly car you can buy today?

  • Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia
    Pirates kidnap three on Singapore tanker off Malaysia

    Armed pirates boarded a Singapore-managed oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, kidnapping three Indonesian crew and stealing some of the vessel's shipment of diesel fuel, the International Maritime Bureau said Wednesday. The attack occurred early Tuesday off Malaysia's west coast, said Noel Choong, head of IMB's Kuala Lumpur-based piracy reporting centre. The diesel oil tanker was believed to be en route to Myanmar. "IMB is aware of the attack on the Singapore-managed ship in the Malacca Straits.

  • McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania
    McDonald's Hello Kitty sale site temporarily suspended due to fresh wave of Kitty mania

    It may not be safe to enter a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore on Mondays starting 28 April. To celebrate the iconic Japanese character Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary, the fast food chain announced last Friday that it would be releasing a new collection of Hello Kitty toys in McDonald’s restaurants island wide next Monday.

  • First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy
    First sign of S.Korea ferry disaster was call from a frightened boy

    He called the emergency 119 number which put him through to the fire service, which in turn forwarded him to the coastguard two minutes later. That was followed by about 20 other calls from children on board the ship to the emergency number, a fire service officer told Reuters.