New bird flu outbreak at Karachi poultry farm, Pakistan

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A new outbreak of the avian flu in Pakistan reported by the Pakistani authorities, and authorities took steps to cull a large number of birds at a poultry farm in the Karachi city, where 5,500 chickens died of the deadly disease earlier this week.

The H5N1 strain of avian influenza had been found in samples taken from birds that died in the farm, Pakistan Poultry Association spokesman Abdul Maroof Siddiqui said. Some 5,500 birds had died in the farm, following which samples were sent for tests at a laboratory in Islamabad. The tests confirmed the presence of bird flu. Teams were sent to the farm today to cull its remaining birds.

Though there are several other poultry farms in the area, bird flu has not been detected in them so far. Health and veterinary officials went to these farms to test both birds and humans, but said they had not found any cases of the influenza jumping to humans.

Owners of the poultry farms were directed to take precautions, including providing gloves to workers and conducting regular health check-ups for them.

The authorities also issued guidelines to people for handling and consumption of poultry products and meat. People were asked to cook chicken at 80 degrees Centigrade to kill the virus and not to eat roast or chicken tikka, a favourite dish at most restaurants and parties. People were also asked not to touch meat with bare hands.

Source: Press Trust of India, India

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