Iraq culls 35,000 chickens amid bird flu outbreak

By Oscar Rousseau contact

- Last updated on GMT

Iraq has been beset with bird flu problems for a number of years
Iraq has been beset with bird flu problems for a number of years

Related tags: Pathogenic avian influenza, Influenza

Tens of thousands of chickens have been culled after a wild bird brought the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N8 to a farm in Diyala, Iraq.

The virus was found at a farm of 43,000 birds in Diyala, eastern Iraq, on 27 December, according to the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

The outbreak of the avian influenza​ strain H5N8 killed 7,250 birds, before Iraqi officials culled the remaining 35,750 to stop the disease from spreading further in the country.

A wild bird brought the flu to the farm, but the OIE did not specify the species that may have carried the communicable disease to the site in Diyala.

Afghanistan takes influenza hit

Iraq’s Ministry of Agriculture has said any birds in the country showing symptoms of bird flu will be culled, not medicated. Other control measures set up by the government include tighter restrictions on the movement of live poultry within the country; increased surveillance on farms in Diyala and wider Iraq; control of wildlife reservoirs; and official destruction of animals, carcases, by-products and livestock waste.

OIE is to submit a follow-up report on the outbreak of bird flu in Iraq in the coming weeks.

But Iraq​ is not the only country in the Middle East hit by pathogenic influenza. Afghanistan reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on 6 January. The H5 serotype has not infected any commercial poultry, only wild rooks, according to a report sent to the OIE by Dr Jahangir Miakhail, acting director general of animal health and production with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock.

Wild rooks carrying the H5 pathogenic influenza strain were found in Khost, eastern Afghanistan. OIE claims 14 died, three were culled.

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