BANGLADESH: Bird Flu Up Sharply in 2011

Outbreaks of H5N1 bird flu among poultry in Bangladesh – already three times higher this year than the same period last year – have caused “serious concern” for the authorities.

“We are undertaking heavy surveillance at farms and teams are supervising markets to prevent sick chickens from being sold,” Director-General of the Department of Livestock Mohammad Ashraf Ali told IRIN.

The avian flu death toll may mount given how such outbreaks typically occur up to June, said the chief technical adviser for the Food and Agriculture Organization, Mat Yamage.

But reports of increases may not be a bad thing, he noted. “One hypothesis [for the increased number of outbreaks], though unconfirmed, is that farmers are more willing to report bird flu because the rate of compensation more than doubled this year. This is a positive development, as farmers generally no longer opt to sell sick poultry.”

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