Tuesday, January 31, 2006
iraq on avian influenza alert
Health authorities in Iraq went on an avian influenza alert after the first reported case of the deadly avian influenza virus in that country. Farmers across the country have been warned to inspect their domestic as well as commercial birds.
Health Minister Abdel Mutalib Mohammed stated that five mobile hospitals with special equipment are due to arrive in northern Iraq sometime today. Officials in Iraq stated that a 20 mile security cordon will be placed around the village where the disease first appeared.
The infection of a 15 year old girl with avian influenza, in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region yesterday was the first reported case of the H5N1 strain of avian influenza in the middle east. It also prompted the slaughter of an estimated 500,000 birds in an effort to stop the disease from spreading any further.
The US has offered assistance to Iraqi authorities, while a team from The World Health Organisation was expected to arrive later in the week to conduct tests. Health authorities are also investigating two more possible avian influenza cases.