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Bird Flu Outbreak Confirmed Near Islamabad In Pakistan

A second outbreak of the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain was reported in a poultry farm near Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Sunday. //

"During an ongoing surveillance for avian influenza, a suspect outbreak was reported at a small poultry farm in Sihala, some 25 km from Islamabad on Friday," livestock and animal husbandry commissioner Muhammad Afzal said.

"Clinically, the disease was suggested as avian influenza," he added.

Samples were taken for test, he said, while a whole flock of 3,500 chickens was destroyed with the cooperation of the owner, the Pakistan Poultry Association and government agencies.

Afzal said that following the laboratory test reports showing the presence of H5NI, a surveillance zone of three kilometres around the infected farm had been declared with all farms being sampled for monitoring.

Avian influenza is primarily a poultry disease and as per guidelines issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, the public is assured that cooked poultry meat and eggs are safe for consumption and there should not be any undue concern in this regard, he added.

Late last month, the World Reference Laboratory for Avian Influenza at Weybridge, Britain, confirmed the presence of the H5NI virus at two farms in Charsada and Abbotabad in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

--Edited IANS
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