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Pakistan: Authorities Plays Down Bird Flu Risk

ory birds.

In May 2006, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided Pakistan with avian flu detection equipment to help to speed up virus detection. The new equipment helps to identify particular strains of the virus within six hours against 24-72 hours required earlier.

In 2006, Pakistan confirmed the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu on 28 small poultry farms, resulting in the culling of more than 120,000 birds. However, there have been no reports of bird-to-human or human-to-human cases of bird flu in the country.

In 2003, a mild strain of bird flu, H9 and H7, killed at least 3.5 million chickens in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi.

"Poultry farmers should vaccinate chicken stocks every two to three months. They should also maintain bio security and there should be no tree in a 3km radius of a poultry shed," Dr Zafar Jamil Gill, director general at Lahore-based Veterinary Research Institute told IRIN.

In a Pakistani context, migratory birds spread the disease, according to veterinary specialists. "People should be extra careful when adding new bird flocks to the old ones during this season," Gill said.

Chicken accounts for up to 45 percent of total meat consumption in the South Asian nation of 158 million. There are about 29,000 poultry farms across Pakistan.

Source-Bio-Bio Technology
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