H5N1 strikes Pakistan poultry again

Aug 21, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Government officials in Pakistan today announced a recent outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza at a poultry farm in the country's northwest, as Indonesia worked to stamp out the disease on farms on Sulawesi and Italian officials reported low-pathogenic avian flu outbreaks.

The Pakistan outbreak occurred in late July at a large farm in the town of Mansehra, about 50 miles north of Islamabad, Reuters reported today. The birds were tested for the disease after about 14,000 chickens at the farm died, said Rafiq-ul-Hassan Usmani, an agriculture ministry official.

After samples came back positive for the H5N1 virus, the remaining 35,000 birds were culled, Reuters reported.

A report that Pakistani officials submitted to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said the outbreak affected 16-week-old breeder and broiler chickens.

Pakistan has had several poultry outbreaks this year, but the latest incident is the first since May, according to OIE reports. The country has not reported any human H5N1 cases.

Elsewhere, local officials on Sulawesi island in Indonesia said they were struggling to contain H5N1 outbreaks on farms near Palu, the capital of Central Sulawesi, according to a report yesterday from Antara News, the state news agency. Tests conducted after several chickens in Palu died confirmed the disease in 29 chickens, Antara reported.

Infected birds have been found in three of four subdistricts in Palu, and Antara reported that two chickens in neighboring Donggala district died of the disease 2 days ago.

In other news, Italian health officials announced that an outbreak of a low-pathogenic form of H5N2 avian influenza had been detected on farms near Ravenna, in northern Italy, Reuters reported today. Some of the birds also had antibodies to an H7 avian flu virus, the report said.

A health ministry statement said evidence of infection in the birds was found during routine surveillance on the farm, Reuters reported.

A senior official with Italy's poultry farmers union told Reuters that about 12,000 ducks and geese were culled on an industrial farm, along with about 200 chickens and guinea fowl on a smaller farm.

See also:

OIE reports on Pakistan outbreak
http://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A2007_AI.php#

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