Birds infected with flu seen in 15 Iranian provinces: Health Ministry official
Iran’s Ministry of Health has detected flu in birds in 15 Iranian provinces and has prohibited the use of local poultry products nationwide.
Mahmood Soroush, the head of the ministry’s Center for Communicable Disease Control, told Iran’s IRNA news agency on Saturday that the avian flu, most common form of which is the H5N8 strain, had infected birds in more than 15 Iranian provinces.
Soroush said it had already been detected in many countries, especially in the region spanning between Siberia and the Horn of Africa.
He said the ministry had issued three statements warning about contamination even close to urban areas, particularly near lagoons, and demanding people to avoid touching any kind of birds.
“We seriously urge people to avoid touching dead birds or even living migratory ones,” the official said.
The Iranian Health Ministry is taking different measures concerning education, vaccination, and the distribution of medication in affected areas, Soroush added.
He stressed that people should use only chickens and eggs that have certification from the Iran Veterinary Organization or the Ministry of Agriculture and avoid using local poultry products “until further notice.”
‘No human cases of bird flu’
Those who have fever following physical contact with birds should promptly refer to medical centers, the official pointed out. He said, however, that no cases of human infection had been detected in Iran.
“So far, we haven’t had even a single case of human infection with bird flu or anything like it, but preventative measures such as vaccination, distribution of medication, and sampling from at-risk individuals continue,” he added.
The H5N8 strain of bird flu is deadly for poultry, but has not been detected in humans. The virus has spread across Europe and the Middle East since late last year and led to the culling of hundreds of thousands of poultry.