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Human influenza, avian influenza and swine influenza - current influenza situation in Myanmar


Current influenza situation in Myanmar

According to the Ministry of Health and Sports Myanmar faces a seasonal human flu (caused mainly by H1N1 subtype) that has been officially confirmed by laboratory tests. In addition, the Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department (LBVD) has reported on the incidence of Influenza Type A(H5N1) at layer farms in Dawei Township, Tanintharyi Region and in backyard village chickens in Mayangone Township, Yangon Region.

Are there links between influenza viruses in human and avian?

The human flu outbreaks and bird flu outbreaks are caused by different viruses.  There is no connection between the two.

The National Health Laboratory (NHL) under the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) shipped the seasonal influenza viral isolate samples to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), Japan for gene sequencing and Anti-viral assays - NIID confirmed that 1. Currently H1N1 is same as the worldwide virus and 2. has high antiviral susceptibility.

NHL also collected the laboratory samples from people who are nearest to HPAI H5N1 events in Dawei and Mayangone Townships and tested them at NHL. The results showed that H1N1 tested positive in some samples, however there was none that was H5N1 positive and no genetic relation between H1N1 and H5N1.

Are there any relations between Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 and swine flu?

The H1N1 virus subtype is the principle cause of the current seasonal flu in Myanmar.  It has become adapted to humans, and has much less infectivity for pigs.  Regrettably, the 2009 human pandemic was historically known as ‘swine flu’.  People rarely catch this particular virus from pigs.  There are reports of pigs catching it from people.  Pork meat is not a risk to humans.

Established swine influenza viruses comprise various subtypes and variants, many of which are the result of substantial reassortment between influenza A viruses of several hosts. Currently circulating influenza viruses infecting swine also include genetic components, or entire viruses, of avian and human influenza viruses.

The most common subtypes of influenza virus in swine are H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2. Other novel reassortants of swine influenza viruses continue to be discovered. New subtypes have also been found in some populations, including reassortments with equine influenza viruses.

Swine influenza viruses are found mainly in pigs, but they have also been found in other species including humans, turkeys, and ducks. Human-origin H1N1 and H3N2 strains have been identified in swine populations.

Some influenza A viruses affect multiple species, but are generally more adapted to one species.  For example, H5N1 “bird flu” is highly infectious in chickens, but rarely caught by people.

Should or Can we eat chicken meat and eggs?

There are no announcements of HPAI occurrence in Myanmar other than in Dawei and Mayangone Townships.

Precautions are recommended when handling infected birds or on infected premises.  It is wise to wash hands with soap after touching uncooked meat as a precaution.  Hand-washing is also a good preventive measure for human seasonal flu. Well cooked meat and eggs carry no risk of infection. Influenza A viruses are inactivated by heat of 56-60°C (133-140°F) for a minimum of 60 minutes (or higher temperatures for shorter periods.

Should keep the following points to avoid the risk of avian influenza and for safe consumption of chicken meat and eggs;

  • Store and keep raw meat and vegetables separately,
  • After processing poultry, clean knives, chopping boards and bowls, thoroughly;
  • Consume and eat poultry meat and eggs only after it has been cooked properly thoroughly; cook until the innermost parts (of meat) are well cooked and no longer pink in color, and fry until the yolk is well cooked and not runny.

FAO support to current avian influenza event

The FAO Myanmar support to the current avian influenza event are as follows;

Samples taken from disease incidence areas are sent to international reference laboratory for further confirmation and genetic sequencing,

Based on the request of LBVD, essential equipment will be supplied, such as laboratory test kits, disinfectants and awareness material,

For further information: