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Massive bird flu outbreak in Iraq

By Oscar Rousseau , 27-Apr-2016
Last updated on 08-May-2016 at 14:50 GMT2016-05-08T14:50:09Z

Poultry production in Iraq dropped by 9% in 2015
Poultry production in Iraq dropped by 9% in 2015

Veterinary officials in Iraq have killed hundreds of thousands of chickens after a deadly strain of avian influenza was detected in the country for the first time in a decade.

Six separate cases of avian influenza (AI) have been reported in five Iraqi states, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) confirmed on Tuesday 26 April.

It is believed to be the highly pathogenic H5N1 AI strain that has torn through Iraq. It first occurred on 16 December 2015, with the Iraqi authorities reporting the outbreak to the OIE on Monday 25 April. A source of the outbreak has not been confirmed and further investigations are ongoing.

In total, the highly pathogenic strain has killed 77,101 birds. Veterinary officials have so far culled 641,498 chickens to contain the spread of the disease and control further damage to the industry.

Domestic poultry production in Iraq has been on the decline since 2013, when it recorded a growth rate of 6.7%. The most recent data showed a drop of 9% for 2015, according to Index Mundi.

The OIE said it planned to submit a follow-up report on Iraq’s AI outbreak in May 2016.

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