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Cablegate: Burma: Gob Plans to Relocate Live Bird Market As Ai

VZCZCXRO2104
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHGO #0249/01 0941113
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 031113Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7368
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1801
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1036
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 4811
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 4584
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 8125
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 5686
RUEHVI/AMEMBASSY VIENNA 0119
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 1405
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 1488
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0263
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUCLRFA/USDA WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 RANGOON 000249

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MLS, G/AIAG
PACOM FOR FPA
USDA FOR FAS/PECAD, FAS/CNMP, FAS/AAD, APHIS;
BANGKOK FOR USAID: JMACARTHUR, APHIS:NCARDENAS, REO:JWALLER

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID AMED PGOV PREL CASC TBIO KFLU BM
SUBJECT: BURMA: GOB PLANS TO RELOCATE LIVE BIRD MARKET AS AI
PROTECTIVE MEASURE

RANGOON 00000249 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) Summary. Rangoon's main live bird market sells more
than 40,000 poultry and two million eggs and poultry products each
day. Aware that the live bird market poses potential avian
influenza threats for those living near the market, the Ministry of
Livestock and Fisheries and the Yangon City Development Committee
(YCDC) developed plans to relocate the market by the end of 2008.
Using its own funds, YCDC plans to construct two new markets on the
outskirts of Rangoon. Officials from the Livestock Breeding and
Veterinary Department (LBVD) held a workshop in early March for
officials from LBVD, Ministry of Health, FAO, and WHO, as well as
members of the Livestock Federation, to discuss biosecurity and
safety standards for live bird markets. GOB agencies continue their
efforts to prevent the transmission of avian influenza from animalsQto humans.
End Summary.

Largest Market in Burma
-----------------------

2. (SBU) The Yangon City Development Committee (YCDC), the GOB
organization that handles the development and administration of
Burma's largest city, established a central live bird market in
Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township in 1991 to encourage the trade of live
poultry and poultry products. Initially, YCDC granted five licenses
to those dealing in the poultry trade. Currently, more than
ninety-six vendors are licensed to sell poultry in the Rangoon
market. Each day, more than 40,000 chickens, quail, and ducks and
an estimated two million poultry products from Rangoon, Bago, and
Irrawaddy Divisions enter the market and are sold to wholesalers and
retailers. According to YCDC officials, 90 percent of the poultry
sold in the market is sold live; the remaining poultry is processed
within the market.

3. (SBU) The Rangoon Live Bird Market, like other live bird
markets in Burma, has few biosecurity measures in place, LBVD
Director General U Maung Maung Nyunt admitted. Currently, poultry
sellers keep chicken, ducks, and other poultry in the same location
before selling them, which increases the chances of animal to animal
transmission of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). While
most poultry are sold live, some sellers process -- which includes
killing, beheading, and dressing -- ducks and chickens manually and
in the same location before selling them. Although LBVD officials
have an ongoing program to train live poultry sellers about proper
methods of processing, including implementing biosecurity measures
to ensure proper cleanup after processing, it is not clear how
effective the program is. We saw little enforcement of these
measures in the marketplace. Responsibility for enforcement in the
Rangoon Live Bird Market lies with YCDC, LBVD Director Dr. Ohn Kyaw
told us.

4. (SBU) LBVD officials during the past year have expressed to
international organizations and donors their concerns that the live
bird market poses a potential threat for the spread of avian
influenza from animals to humans, given its location in a
residential area and the high volume of people that frequent the
market. YCDC, working with officials from QD, recently
established policies to closely monitor the health of poultry in the
market. Each day, YCDC veterinarians should verify poultry sellers'
health certificates and conduct spot checks on the health of poultry
found in the market. For any suspected AI cases, YCDC and LBVD
veterinarians are to conduct post-mortem exams to verify whether the
birds were AI positive. Sales of poultry end at 10 a.m. and YCDC
officials are to ensure that the premises are properly cleaned by 2
p.m. For any poultry death cases with abnormal findings, YCDC
should coordinate closely with LBVD officials on further actions.


RANGOON 00000249 002.2 OF 003


5. (SBU) According to Dr. Ne Aung, LBVD Staff Officer responsible
for coordinating with YCDC on bird market issues, the YCDC Director
in late 2007 appointed two veterinarians to monitor poultry health
in the bird markets. To date, they have not observed any abnormal
deaths in poultry in the Rangoon markets. In addition to YCDC
monitoring, LBVD staff conduct spot checks of the live bird markets
to ensure any outbreaks of AI are caught quickly. LBVD's AI
surveillance team and YCDC officials jointly collect sero samples
and cloacal swabs from the market on a weekly basis for testing.
YCDC officials understand the seriousness of an AI outbreak in
Rangoon, Dr. Ne Aung stated. LBVD and YCDC will continue to work
together to prevent animal to animal and animal to human
transmission of HPAI, he assured us.

Relocation Plans
----------------

6. (SBU) During our meetings with LBVD officials, U Maung Maung
Nyunt has emphasized LBVD's role in convincing YCDC to relocate the
Rangoon Live Bird Market. Dr. Htay Aung, Deputy Head of the
Veterinary and Slaughter Houses Department within YCDC, told us that
YCDC has moved forward with plans to relocate the central market to
a more secure location in a non-residential area by the end of 2008.
YCDC, using its own funding, will build two new live bird markets
on the outskirts of Rangoon, he emphasized. YCDC has not yet set a
budget for the construction of the markets and may request funding
from international organizations. These markets, to be located in
Shwe Pyi Thar Township in northwest Rangoon and Ywar Thar Gyi
Township in southeast Rangoon, will be easier to monitor and
maintain, Dr. Htay Aung declared. Additionally, by establishing two
separate markets, YCDC will be able to reduce the number of live
birds that move through one area, he declared. According to YCDC
officials, poultry from Irrawaddy and Rangoon Divisions will be sold
at the Shwe Pyi Thar market and poultry products from Bago and
Rangoon Divisions will go to Ywar Thar Gyi market.

7. (SBU) According to Dr. Htay Aung, YCDC will ensure that the new
live bird markets will implement proper biosecurity measures to
prevent the transmission of avian influenza from animals to animals
and animals to humans. Based on a March 10-12 workshop on
Implementing Biosecurity Methods at Live Bird Markets, hosted by
LBVD for officials from LBVD, the Ministry of Health, YCDC, World
Health Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, as
well as members from the Livestock Federation, YCDC officials plan
to ensure that the following measures are in place at the new
markets:

--The Rangoon Live Bird Markets should implement biosecurity
measures as described by LBVD;
--The new markets will close one day per week for cleaning and
disinfection;
--Transport vehicles and transport materials should be disinfected
upon entrance and exit from the live bird markets each day;
--Vendors should wash their hands frequently with soap and ensure
proper personal hygiene;
--All waste water should be treated before disposal;
--Sellers should use plastic coops instead of wooden or bamboo coops
or crates. Plastic coops should be thoroughly disinfected each day;

--Slaughter house and processing areas should be separate from the
main bird market area;
--Vendors may only sell dressed meat;
--If a suspected AI case occurs, all personnel involved in the
investigation of the case should use personal protective equipment
(PPE); and

RANGOON 00000249 003.2 OF 003


--YCDC will employ strict disciplinary measures against anyone who
does not implement biosecurity measures and follow the rules of the
markets.

Comment
-------

8. (SBU) While we welcome LBVD and YCDC recognition of the
potential AI threat posed by the live bird markets and plans to
relocate them and implement proper biosecurity measures, the GOB
needs to take steps to ensure that existing live bird markets meet
international standards for biosecurity. Building new markets takes
time; the Burmese Government appears to be focused on the future
rather than addressing the immediate threat. LBVD recognizes this
problem but lacks the resources necessary to address the issue. We
will continue to support LBVD, through our partnership with the FAO
and the WHO, as it continues to train government staff and poultry
dealers on the best way to prevent animal to human transmission of
HPAI. We will also closely monitor the results and effectiveness of
the GOB's measures.

VILLAROSA

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