Bird flu: H5N1 strain detected in Saudi Arabia

March 23, 2007 18:14

Saudi Arabia confirmed its first outbreak among birds of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu on Friday, the state-run press agency reported. The Saudi Ministry of Agriculture said the outbreak was discovered in turkeys, parrots, peacocks and ostriches kept on private land in the east of the country, the Saudi Press Agency said. It said an undisclosed number of birds were ordered destroyed after tests confirmed the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, which has killed 169 people worldwide so far. The virus is predominantly threatening to birds and is difficult for humans to catch, but health authorities worry that if not quickly eradicated in bird populations, it could mutate to a strain easily transmittable among humans and create a global pandemic.

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