Kuwait announces bird flu in fowl

Kuwait has detected two cases of bird flu in birds, but it was not clear if the virus strain was the deadly version that has devastated poultry in Asia.

It is the first known case of the disease in the Gulf region.

Sheik Fahd Salem Al-Ali Al Sabah, the head of the Public Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries, told the first case was found in an imported bird and was discovered at the airport.

The second case, probably a migrating wild fowl, was found on the beach.

The official said the country had reported no cases of bird flu among humans.

Dr Mohammed al-Mihana of the Public Authority, told that tests in a local laboratory indicated the strain was H5, but it was not determined if the strain was N1 or N2.

The deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu has devastated poultry stocks and killed more than 60 people in Asia.

The first case was discovered at the airport quarantine center in a peacock. The second was in a water bird at the beach. Both birds were culled.

It was not clear if any wider culling of birds was planned.

Sheik Fahd said precautions were immediately taken to protect workers at the airport and around the site where the other bird was found.

Last month, Kuwait said it had earmarked 14 million euro to buy drugs to combat bird flu.

The entire Middle East region has been worried about possible outbreaks because the region sits on important migratory bird waterways south, the AP reports.


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