New bird flu outbreaks in Pakistan
After finding the H5N1 bird flu virus in small flocks of chickens and peacocks, Pakistan reports its first two cases in almost a year, said officials.
Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry spokesman, Mohammad Afzal, said all the chickens in a flock of 40 birds had died after the deadly virus was detected in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.
“The virus was found in domestic poultry in Rawalpindi. Eighteen birds died and tests confirmed they were infected with H5N1 virus
, the rest of the birds were then slaughtered,” he told AFP.
Several major chicken farms are located in the area, however, it is believed to be an an isolated case.
Afzal said the virus had also been detected in a flock of peacocks in Mansehra in North West Frontier Province. Eighteen birds died and the rest slaughtered.
Afzal added: “There is no case of human infection.”
The virus has not yet been found in commercial poultry following the latest outbreak and the government had provided farmers with enough vaccine to protect their birds.
Pakistan produces 4.5 million chickens annually, while peacocks are often kept for decorative purposes and as a good luck charm to bring their owners wealth.