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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07DHAKA480 2007-03-23 10:58:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Dhaka
Cable title:  

BANGLADESH'S FIRST CONFIRMED CASE OF AVIAN

Tags:   TBIO KFLU BG 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO3753
PP RUEHHM RUEHPB
DE RUEHKA #0480/01 0821058
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231058Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3580
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 9756
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD PRIORITY 1558
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU PRIORITY 8996
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO PRIORITY 7838
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON PRIORITY 2526
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 000480 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2017
TAGS: TBIO KFLU BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH'S FIRST CONFIRMED CASE OF AVIAN
INFLUENZA IN POULTRY

REF: DHAKA 0117

DHAKA 00000480 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION GEETA PASI FOR REASON 1.4(d)



1. (C) SUMMARY. On March 22, Bangladesh announced its
first confirmed case of Avian Influenza (H5N1). The GOB has
taken preliminary steps to address the avian influenza
infection discovered at a commercial poultry farm north of
Dhaka. With NO/NO human infection in Bangladesh and NO/NO
additional detection of H5N1 elsewhere in Bangladesh, the
core focus is on speeding up the pace of Bangladesh's
development in both animal and human surveillance capacity as
a result of this first confirmed case of H5N1 poultry
infection. END SUMMARY.

PUBLIC PRESS ANNOUNCEMENT FOLLOWS HIGH LEVEL MEETING



2. (U) According to an official press report, the Advisers
for Health and Family Welfare, and for Agriculture, Fisheries
and Livestock briefed the Chief Adviser and the other
advisers on March 22 on a recent avian influenza outbreak at
a commercial poultry farm north of Dhaka. By the evening of
March 22, the news was being broadcast over local radio
stations. Today's local newspapers are carrying the avian
influenza story in the headlines.

IMMEDIATE ACTION



3. (C) Following the meeting of Advisers reported in the
media, a meeting of technical experts may be convened soon,
possibly as early as Saturday, March 24. Dr. Mosaddique
Hossain, Chief Veterinary Surgeon, Central Veterinary
Hospital, reported to the Ambassador that the GOB will
execute a three mile radius culling of poultry around the
epicenter commercial poultry farm. Press reports describe a
ten kilometer cull radius, but either way this represents a
sizeable area, and is an indicator that the GOB is taking
this matter seriously. Dr. Hossain also reported GOB plans
to pay compensation to farmers at the rate of 70 taka per
chicken and 80 taka per other fowl (UD$1 = approximately 70
taka). Market price for chickens in this area are
approximately 70 taka per kilogram and most chickens range in
weight from one to 1.5 kg, so this is relatively close to
market price. The local currency equivalent of $14.5 million
(derived from the sale of USG donated food and agricultural
commodities) is available to assist the GOB in meeting the
short term and long term needs created by this first case of
H5N1. The USG gave approval to use these resources in a
variety of programs months ago, but GOB action is still
required to disburse these funds. In the short term, Post has
identified the taka equivalent of $5 million of these funds
for use in this compensation plan. The Ambassador contacted
the Finance Adviser today, March 23, to discuss their use.
The utilization of these funds by the GOB has been blocked
due to bureaucratic inertia and frequent staff changes in
relevant ministries. The Finance Adviser told the Ambassador
that he was very interested in these funds and would follow
up within his ministry to ensure their release.

ANIMAL VS. HUMAN SURVEILLANCE



4. (C) In the first countries where H5N1 was found, the
identification was primarily the result of investigating
human deaths and then backwards plotting the virus, path to
the poultry population, usually to backyard farms where
individuals had close contact with the poultry. Now in
Bangladesh, as with other countries more recently
experiencing an initial outbreak of H5N1, we see at least
some success in animal surveillance picking up the virus
instead of waiting for human fatalities. Animal
surveillance,s effectiveness is still limited in Bangladesh,
as indicated by the fact that Bangladesh,s first incident
was discovered as a result of a large die off in a commercial
poultry farm. With 45% of the poultry in Bangladesh being
raised in backyard farms, there is still a significant gap in
animal surveillance. It is encouraging to note that
Bangladesh did not wait for the first human death to be the
initial tripwire.

INITIAL STUMBLES BY THE MINISTRY OF FISHERIES AND LIVESTOCK



5. (C) The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock had the
initial lead on investigating the die off as early as late
February and did not share this information with other GOB
agencies or international partners. It was only when

DHAKA 00000480 002.2 OF 002


Ministry of Health was informed some three weeks later, on
March 15, when aggressive action was taken. From mid-March,
the GOB gets reasonably good marks for sharing information
both with appropriate international and domestic health
agencies and with the public once confirmation of results
came back from an FAO certified lab in Thailand. One
specific example of that cooperation is that the GOB has
fully shared the samples, which will allow FAO to sequence
the virus and determine which particular strain of the virus
is present in Bangladesh.

COMMENT



6. (C) There have been no reports of human infection in
Bangladesh and no reports of additional detection of H5N1
elsewhere in the country. Therefore, following the immediate
culling of the birds near the epicenter in Savar, the course
of action should focus on increasing animal and human
surveillance. The taka equivalent of $14.5 million (which
includes the amount already identified to compensate farmers
for culled birds) is available for use in procuring detection
and diagnostic equipment which would improve both animal and
human surveillance capabilities. The Ambassador,s
communication with the Finance Advisor underscored both the
availability of these funds and the need to process their
disbursement expeditiously.
BUTENIS