Bird flu in Pakistan sparks concern
Pakistan's neighbouring states, such as Gujarat,
Rajasthan and Punjab have been alerted following the outbreaks of the H5N1 bird
flu in Pakistan. There are concers that this highly contagious virus may travel
across the border.
The virus has recently killed chickens in Rawalpindi, peacocks in
north-west Mansehra, as well as several turkeys in the capital, Islamabad. Now
it is reported that the virus has struck peacocks at the Marghzar zoo in
In February 2006 there was a bird
outbreak, killing poultry in Maharashtra and setting off a wave of panic
in the rest of the country, resulting in extensive culling. The virus was
finally stamped out in April.
According to David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for
Avian and Human Influenza, this season's wave of avian flu, unlike that of last
season, is largely believed to be passed on through the poultry trade as opposed
to migration of contaminated wild birds.
Using its network, the Bombay Natural History Society has been monitoring
wild birds at almost 30 sites in the country. The migrations into India have
ended and the wild birds are likely to start their spring migration back to the
northern latitudes in a few weeks' time.
As the price of chicken was lower in India than in neighbouring countries,
smuggling of these birds from across the border was not likely.
On the other hand, the virus might hitch a ride into India on a bird like
the peacock, which was not a great flier but hopped from one field to another,
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