Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Despite the decreasing number of avian flu outbreaks in Bangladesh in 2012 compared to last year, Bangladesh still continues to be one of the six countries, as being endemically infected by avian influenza according to FAO assessment.
The Avian Influenza Preparedness and Response Project is helping to minimize the risk of outbreak. The active surveillance system in 306 Upazilas (sub-districts) and its reporting through mobile phones has largely contributed to early detection, diagnosis and containing measures in case of avian flu outbreaks.  
“As a result, the average outbreak response time between diagnosis and culling has been reduced from 4.8 days in 2007 to 1.4,” a World Bank project update said on Monday. 
All of the 21 outbreaks during 2012 have occurred on commercial farms. The last outbreak has been reported on April 5, 2012 from Rajbari. 
Three human cases of Avian Influenza (H5N1), generally known as bird flu, have so far been identified in 2012. This is the first time that Avian Influenza was detected in adults and all three people were dealing with live birds. Fortunately, all these persons have survived through treatment.
According to FAO estimate, it may take years to eradicate the disease, for which concerted efforts will be needed through public–private partnership to restructure poultry sectors and improve biosecurity, further strengthen veterinary services, conduct regular risk communication campaigns and maintain a strong public sector commitment to this end.
Weak farm bio-security continues to be a major cause of avian influenza entry into Live Bird Markets and commercial farms. It is expected that the project will further limit the risks of outbreaks by piloting improved biosecurity measures in selected 9 market-clusters from farm to market supply chains.
The World Bank is supporting the USD 16 million project that commenced on June 2007.  
A World Bank team recently reviewed the project implementation status with Government and requested the project team to closely monitor activities to ensure the project can achieve its objects by its December 2012, when the project will end.
BBN/SSR/AD-16July12-11:04 am (BST)