>Plague-infected rats reported in Myanmar’s capital

07 Jul 2010 10:17:15 GMT
Source: Reuters
YANGON, July 7 (Reuters) – Myanmar’s health ministry has circulated a warning among government departments about rat-borne plague after finding infected dead rodents in a compound of a government office, an official said. Half a dozen dead rats were found in a ministry in the new capital, Naypyitaw, an official told Reuters on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press. The warning called on other ministries to look out for dead rodents at their offices and at living quarters, urging civil servants to report cases to the nearest health office. Villagers and motorists between Yangon, the former capital, and Naypyitaw reported seeing thousands of field mice on the move and squashed on the highway in what could possibly be a mass migration away from an affected area. “I saw hundreds of dead mice killed after being driven over by vehicles scattered on the highway when I drove back to Yangon last week,” Min Kyaw, a Yangon-based travel agent, said. Thai-based Irrawaddy magazine said an unspecified number of Yangon residents had been diagnosed with plague in June, citing an epidemiologist. The report said all were treated and had since recovered. A senior health ministry official told Reuters the authorities were alert to the dangers of the contagious disease primarily transmitted by rodents and had taken measures, but insisted there had been no humans affected. State-owned Myanmar language newspapers carried a public notice about the danger of bubonic plague spread by infected rat fleas on July 1, calling on civilians to report cases to the nearest health department. (Reporting by Aung Hla Tun; Writing by Ambika Ahuja; Editing by Alan Raybould)