Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu disease kills pigs in Burma

At least 100 pigs have died of an unidentified disease since April 26, said residents in Twante Township in Rangoon division, raising apprehensions following the outbreak of Swine Flu in Mexico.

About 25 pigs from piggeries in Thakhundine and Zeephyukone villages in Rangoon division’s Twante Township died since Saturday, local residents said.“Before the pigs died, they showed symptoms of poisoning. The bodies of the animals shook. And about two hours later they fell dead,” a local resident of Twante town told Mizzima.

“When we took the meat of the dead pigs the colour was dark and it looked as if it was dehydrated. And when people ate the meat, they started feeling dizzy. Some had to contend with loose motion,” he added.

The locals said, with little knowledge about the disease that the pigs were afflicted with, farm owners buried the pigs in the fields.

After the death of the animals came to the notice of local authorities, a doctor from the Twante hospital along with several officials from the health department came for inspection. But they failed to diagnose the disease that killed the pigs, he added.

“The doctors told us to keep them informed if more pigs died in other villages,” he said.

Piggery owners, who built the piggeries on fish ponds, usually sell their pigs to restaurants and to butchers.

A local resident of Zeephyukone village told Mizzima that many people in the village have piggeries and supply local meat shops as well as restaurants.

“I know one owner of a piggery, who had about 50 pigs in his farm, but since they died one after another only 22 are left. He did not bury the dead pigs but sold the meat to restaurants,” he added.

While the going price of a healthy pig in the market is about Kyat 4,500 (USD 3.75) per viss, the meat of dead pigs was sold only at Kyat 1,500 (USD per 1.25) per viss.

The strange death of pigs in Twante town comes even as the world anxiously watches the outbreak of Swine Flu that has already claimed over 100 lives and caused illness to more than one thousand.Countries across the globe including Japan, China, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore and India, have become cautious and are conducting medical check-ups at international airports.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on April 26, issued a statement “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” warning the people of the outbreak of Swine Flu.
Similarly, Burma’s military authorities also issued orders on April 27 to check all entry points to the country such as airports, sea ports, and border check-points. But locals in the areas said, there has been no implementation of the order.

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