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40,000 Chickens Culled In Pakistan

Pakistan has culled around 40,000 chickens at six farms near the national capital, where confirmed cases of bird flu have come to fore, officials// said Sunday.

Pakistan reported its first case of the deadly H5N1 bird flu at two farms in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in February and found the virus at other farms near here last week.

Scientists detected a mild strain of bird flu, H5, in flocks at six farms in Sihala, Tarlai and Ali Pur Farash areas on the outskirts of this city, said Afzal, commissioner at the state-run Animal Husbandry.

Afzal said a large number of samples had been taken from other farms to carry out tests. 'Immediate action is taken if we suspect any bird flu virus in any farm,' he added.

Another official said bird flu was fast spreading from farms here to the nearby city of Rawalpindi.

'The outbreak of H5 strain has now spread to 12 farms,' said Muhammad Sham, director at the state-run Poultry Development Research Centre.

Sham said fears about the spread of bird flu were high and special teams had been formed to cull and bury the affected chickens and to disinfect the affected farms.

Despite the outbreak of bird flu in parts of Pakistan, no case of human avian flu has been detected so far, according to Health Secretary Anwar Mehmood.

He said 25 samples had been sent for bird flu tests following the identification of the H5N1 strain at some poultry farms near here April 16. But their test results were negative.

--Edited IANS
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