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Bird flu in Pakistan sparks concern

Pakistan's neighbouring states, such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab have been alerted following the outbreaks of the H5N1 bird flu in Pakistan. There are concers that this highly contagious virus may travel across the border.

The virus has recently killed chickens in Rawalpindi, peacocks in north-west Mansehra, as well as several turkeys in the capital, Islamabad. Now it is reported that the virus has struck peacocks at the Marghzar zoo in Islamabad.
In February 2006 there was a bird flu outbreak, killing poultry in Maharashtra and setting off a wave of panic in the rest of the country, resulting in extensive culling. The virus was finally stamped out in April.
According to David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza, this season's wave of avian flu, unlike that of last season, is largely believed to be passed on through the poultry trade as opposed to migration of contaminated wild birds.
Using its network, the Bombay Natural History Society has been monitoring wild birds at almost 30 sites in the country. The migrations into India have ended and the wild birds are likely to start their spring migration back to the northern latitudes in a few weeks' time.
As the price of chicken was lower in India than in neighbouring countries, smuggling of these birds from across the border was not likely.
On the other hand, the virus might hitch a ride into India on a bird like the peacock, which was not a great flier but hopped from one field to another, he added.
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Editor WorldPoultry

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