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Authorities in Myanmar’s Dawei Shut Schools Amid ‘Bird Flu’ Outbreak

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Burmese children

Children from a village in Myanmar. Image: Theis Kofoed Hjorth.

Authorities in the city of Dawei in southeastern Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region on Thursday ordered all schools closed for five days and more than 20,000 chickens to be culled amid an outbreak of the highly contagious avian influenza.

The moves come a day after confirmation from tests on poultry carcasses confirmed that thousands of birds had succumbed to the deadly H5N1 strain of “bird flu” at farms in Dawei, about 370 kilometers (230 miles) southeast of the commercial capital Yangon.

“We closed the schools because we were concerned about the children,” said Hopin, the regional government’s social minister. “That’s why we have closed kindergartens and elementary, middle, and high schools until July 31.”

The Thanintharyi regional government also ordered the culling of more than 20,000 chickens infected with the avian flu and put farm owners and workers under observation for signs of the disease.

Chickens from six farms in the Dawei area have been infected, and authorities suspect that birds on two other farms have contracted the disease.

The virus was detected on July 16 at a poultry farm in the town’s Wekyunhtainthit ward where it killed more than 1,800 birds, according to a report by Eleven Myanmar media group.

The highly infectious flu causes severe respiratory disease in poultry that can sometimes be transmitted to humans.

Full story:

By Thet Su Aung and Waiyan Moe Myint for RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khet Mar. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

Copyright © 1998-2017, RFA. Used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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