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Bird Flu Once Again in Afghanistan

Afghanistan has yet again paid the price for geographically being in the way of migrating// wild birds.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization spokesman Assadullah Azhari has confirmed the cases of 16 outbreaks of the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu, in home –based poultry.

The outbreaks are located in areas of Kabul the capital and eastern parts of the country. Azhari added that the government has ordered the mandatory culling of birds and that stringent control measures such as quarantines, sanitization and monitoring of birds are being adopted.

Last month Afghanistan had banned imports of poultry mainly from Pakistan, Turkey Britain, and Indonesia when bird flu was discovered in these countries.

Afghanistan reported its first cases of H5N1 in March and April last year in Kabul and in the provinces of Kapisa, Logar and Nangarhar. There were no reported infections of humans.

The virus has infected at least 275 people in 12 countries since 2003 and killed at least 167 of them in 10 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Public health experts fear it could mutate into a form that people catch easily from one another and spark off a pandemic.

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