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Homeland Security

Pakistan confirms new bird flu outbreak - Agriculture Ministry

RIA Novosti

23/05/2007 15:42 ISLAMABAD, May 23 (RIA Novosti) - Pakistan confirmed Wednesday an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 virus among poultry on farms near the capital, but said no cases of human infection had been registered.

Mohammad Afzal, a spokesman for the Ministry of Agriculture, said the outbreak hit three large poultry farms on the outskirts of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad at the beginning of the week.

"The outbreak of the [bird flu] disease at these three farms caused the deaths of 6,000 birds, and we had to cull the remaining 5,000," Afzal said, adding that the staff at the farms was under medical observation for potential traces of the virus.

Last March, over 40,000 poultry were culled following an outbreak in the north of the country, and in February 2007 the zoo in Islamabad was closed temporarily after tests confirmed a new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain.

With the recently confirmed H5N1 death of a five-year-old Indonesian girl, the human death toll out of 306 cases around the world has risen to 186, according to the World Health Organization.

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