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Bird flu presence confirmed in Pakistan
March 21, 2006 18:23 IST
Pakistan on Tuesday confirmed the presence of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian influenza in the country.
The announcement was made after the Ministry of Food and Agriculture received positive report on the samples taken from a commercial layer farm in Charsada and a small breeder farm in Abbottabad cities of Northwestern Frontier Province for Avian Influenza, and sent to Britain in February 2005 for necessary tests.
A statement issued by the ministry said the presence of the virus had been confirmed in two poultry farms in the light of the report of World Reference Laboratory (for Avian Influenza) at Weybridge, England, where samples were sent as per international norm and requirement.
"British experts have also endorsed finding of our laboratory that the infection was H5N1 avian influenza,'' said the statement, adding however that some additional samples were also sent, which proved negative in both national and international laboratories.
On February 27, 2005, Pakistan had announced presence of H5N1 strain of the influenza H5 in the two NWFP. ''Necessary steps were taken to minimise spread of infection to other poultry farms in the vicinity and the country in general,'' said the statement.
It said these poultry farms were quarantined and all birds there were culled with cooperation of the poultry farmers and Pakistan poultry association.
The farms premises were disinfected after Ministry of Health sent teams to examine the workers and declared them healthy and free of infection.
As the provincial governments have since been undertaking increased surveillance and so far no new farm/bird has been found affected with the disease anywhere in the country, the statement maintained.Technical staff of the provincial livestock departments has been asked to collect samples from various farms, test these at their laboratories and send suspected samples to the reference laboratory in Islamabad.