By Saleem Samad

Dhaka, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh has accepted an offer from the United States to combat the bird flu virus by developing "seed virus," a key ingredient to make a vaccine in an emergency.

Bangladesh will share a new strain of bird flu virus with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop the virus for scientific use, confirmed health secretary Muhammad Humayun Kabir on Sunday.

Bird flu, also known as avian flu virus H5N1, often causes an pandemic threat in the Asian region, including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.

United Nations agency FAO in August said the contagious avian flu remains firmly entrenched in Bangladesh because of unhygienic trade practices. The UN body warned of a possible major resurgence of bird flu as FAO observed a mutant strain of the H5N1 virus was spreading in Asia.

The CDC approached health authorities in the first week of September for government authorization to use the virus.

The strain was found in humans last March and detected by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), but countrywide surveillance had determined it was mild in nature. This was recently confirmed by the CDC.

Bangladesh experienced 524 recorded Avian flu outbreaks and the livestock department culled over 2.4 million chickens across the country after the first outbreak in March 2007.

According to the World Health Organization, factors responsible for the entrenchment of the virus are complex production and market chains. Eliminating the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus from poultry in the Asian countries will take 10 or more years, it cautioned.


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United States to Help Bangladesh Combat Bird Flu | Global Viewpoint