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Pakistan finds H5N1 bird flu in Islamabad crows
posted by admin on 23/03/07

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has been found in dead crows in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, agriculture authorities said on Thursday.

Up to 70 dead crows had been found in and around the capital recently and eight samples taken from a public park and the outskirts of the city.

Two of them tested positive for the H5N1 strain on Wednesday, said Mohammad Afzal, livestock commissioner at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

"We are telling people that if they find any dead bird on the street they should handle it with care," Afzal said.

Pakistan first found the H5N1 strain of the virus in February last year in North West Frontier Province and about 40,000 birds were culled.

Several outbreaks have been detected in chickens in small poultry farms this year and birds have been culled.

Authorities temporarily shut Islamabad Zoo last month after four peacocks and a goose died of the H5N1 strain. Pakistan has had no human cases of the virus.

Since 2003, the H5N1 virus has killed at least 169 people around the globe and experts fear it could mutate into a form that could jump easily between people and cause a pandemic.

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