Thursday, March 29, 2007

Afghanistan : New Cases Of Bird Flu Found, Kabul Bird Markets Advised To Close

From Reuters :
New cases of a deadly strain of bird flu have been confirmed in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, and in the southern province of Kandahar over the past week, according to the Afghan health ministry.

On 23 March, two more cases of bird flu were confirmed in Kabul, a city with an estimated population of more than 3.5 million people.

Over the past week, bird flu was also detected in the Damaan and Shah Wali Kot districts of Kandahar province in the south of the country. Officials in Kabul say that insecurity is impeding their efforts to curb the spread of the virus in Shah Wali Kot, where insurgents have repeatedly attacked government employees.

In an effort to mitigate the outbreak of avian influenza in Afghanistan, the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 25 March called on Afghans to stop buying and selling live birds.

In addition, WHO has requested Afghan bird-lovers to refrain from petting and touching their birds. But given the important socio-economic role of birds in the life of many ordinary Afghans, both recommendations are difficult, if not unrealistic, for civilians.

Afghanistan's first bird flu case was reported in March 2006. More than 20 cases of bird flu have been confirmed in the country since February, many in the eastern provinces of Nangarhar and Kunar.

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