|Wikileaks:||View 04RANGOON167 at Wikileaks.org|
|Classification:||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY|
|Tags:||TBIO ECON EAID AMED KHIV BM Avian Influenza|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS RANGOON 000167 SIPDIS SENSITIVE STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV, OES/IHA, EB HHS FOR OFFICE OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS BANGKOK FOR AID, FAS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: TBIO, ECON, EAID, AMED, KHIV, BM, Avian Influenza SUBJECT: STILL NO AVIAN FLU IN BURMA; GOVERNMENT PREPARES FOR WORST REF: A. STATE 23762 B. RANGOON 137 1. (SBU) Summary: Burma does not have any reported cases of avian flu. Though the government is taking precautionary measures (ref B), if an outbreak were to occur the regime would be ill-prepared to face it. However, even if the worst happens, due to current USG Burma policy it's unlikely that we'd have any room to provide direct assistance. End summary. Burma Still Has No Flu 2. (U) Ref A request for information indicated that Burma was currently affected by one of the strains of avian influenza currently sweeping Asia. As reported in ref B, and verified with local WHO officials on February 4th, to the best of anyone's knowledge this is not/not the case. The Burmese government has not yet reported any cases of avian flu among its large flock of domestic and imported chickens. 3. (U) As reported in ref B, the GOB has taken a number of actions including launching a public education campaign and freezing imports of chickens from Thailand unless they are cleared by the Burmese Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries (MOLF). MOLF together with the Ministry of Health is also prepared to use MOLF's antiquated veterinary testing facilities to test any sick birds from private farms and from government chicken farms run by the Myanmar Farm Enterprise. However, the GOB has not yet begun any culling of domestic or previously imported chickens. We have not heard that MOLF is vaccinating chickens. Comment: Poorly Prepared, But We Can't Help 4. (SBU) As we mentioned in reftel, the government's secrecy reflex and the difficulty of getting accurate news from the provinces will make it tough for us and the WHO to ever be "absolutely certain" that avian flu is not in Burma. It is a concern, however, as Burma's inadequate medical infrastructure (for both man and beast) would be very hard pressed to effectively contain any new epidemic. Likewise, it is very unlikely that the GOB will provide adequate equipment or training for personnel assigned to taking care of the problem. However, we note that whatever the situation with Burma's chickens, and with the GOB's capacity to handle an outbreak, current U.S. policy would make any direct USG assistance to address the problem extremely unlikely. End comment. Martinez
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