New bird flu outbreak in Pakistan

February 24th, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, Feb 24 (DPA) Pakistani health officials Sunday confirmed a new outbreak of bird flu at a farm outside the southern city of Karachi. It was the third outbreak of the H5N1 avian influenza virus in the Karachi area this month, but was limited only to one farm, and no humans were infected.

“It’s a small outbreak in a isolated area,” said Maqbool Jan Abbasi, an official at Pakistan’s ministry of health, who said local authorities were slow in realizing the outbreak occurred. “The poultry people should have been more alert”.

He said provincial authorities had alerted local hospitals and dispatched health teams to the area, around 15 km outside Karachi, which is Pakistan’s largest city and financial centre.

“If they find any other evidence they will cull,” he said.

Earlier this month, 12 poultry workers in Karachi were isolated and tested for bird flu following the detection of the H5N1 virus at two poultry farms in the city’s Gadap district.

Pakistan has suffered only one human fatality from bird flu, which occurred late last year in the North-West Frontier Province.

Bird flu has killed at least 232 people worldwide from 366 cases since 2003. The vast majority of human cases come from direct contact with sick birds, but scientists fear the virus may mutate into a form more easily transmissible among humans, possibly killing millions.

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Posted in South Asia |