News ID: 208071
Published: 0420 GMT January 14, 2018

Official: Millions of chickens killed to curb bird flu

Official: Millions of chickens killed to curb bird flu

More than 17 million chickens have been culled in Iran over the past ten months as part of efforts to control avian flu, the head of Iran Veterinary Organization said.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Alireza Rafieipour said the bird flu would have spread to many parts of the country if the culling operation had not taken place, Tasnim News Agency reported.

According to the official, 15 provinces in Iran have witnessed the outbreak of avian flu.

He also noted that arrangements have been made to secure a steady supply of chicken and eggs, saying the Agriculture Ministry imported eggs to balance the market.

A hike in the price of chicken eggs in Iran over the past month forced the administration to import the product from abroad. Officials blamed bird flu for a shortage of eggs in the market.

Citing a report from the Iranian Agriculture Ministry, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)  in April said Iran reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N1 bird flu virus in backyard ducks in the northern part of the country.

The outbreak killed 10 birds out of a total of nearly 230 in a house in Mahmoodabad on the Caspian coast, the OIE said in a report posted on its website. All other animals were killed.

Last year Iran had reported an outbreak of another highly contagious bird flu virus, the H5N8.

Avian flu, a type of influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds, has also broken out in some other countries lately, including in Britain and Turkey.

Bird flu hit Britain, with 17 animals killed at famous Abbotsbury Swannery, a popular tourist spot, and residents finding bodies in local rivers, the Daily Mail reported.

A famed swannery in Dorset, a county in southwest England, is among those hit by bird flu after the disease was detected in 17 birds in the region, experts from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have confirmed.

Scientists believe more cases of the disease will emerge over the coming days.

Tests have found the infected birds are carrying a form of the disease closely related to the H5N6 strain that has infected birds across Europe, however, it is a different strain to the one which infected people in China last year.



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