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Domestic poultry faces greatest risk from virus

posted on 27/02/2007: 1437 views

Prevention of infection of domestic poultry is most important in averting a bird flu outbreak in the UAE, warns a regional bird expert.

Peter Hellyer, ornithologist and member of the Emirates Bird Records Committee, told Gulf News that authorities and the public should exercise utmost vigilance in ensuring imported birds were healthy. "It is believed that the source of potential infection arises from domestic poultry, by bringing in infected poultry and mixing them with domestic poultry, he said.

He added that wild birds were unlikely culprits in spreading bird flu in domestic birds and poultry as "they will die before they get very far". So far, there is little evidence that the domestic poultry has been compromised.

Dr Hussain Hassanain, technical secretary for the Emirates Poultry Association, told Gulf News that the group has not received any reports of sick chickens.

"All poultry in farms are reported to be in good health in the UAE. But in the case of backyard chicken farming, that will be up to the committee for bird flu to take action," he added. The committee made health certificates mandatory for live poultry and birds imported into the country. Pet birds and exotic birds also need a Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) before entering the country. (Gulf News)


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