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State of emergency in Egypt’s southwest province after 2 bird flu hotspots detected

December 21, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Chicken sit in a farm near Jamasa city, 170 kms north of Cairo, on 28 April 2007. [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

Egypt’s veterinary directorate in El-Wadi El-Dedid has declared a state of emergency after finding two bird flu hotspots.

The hotspots are on poultry farms in Dakhla Oasis Governorate, one in Ezab Al-Qasr and one in Oweina village.

It is the H9 strain, known to infect people, according to the state-run Al-Ahram.

The infected birds have been killed and the people in contact with them examined.

In 2006 there was an outbreak of bird flu in Egypt which led to poultry exports being suspended. From March to August of the following year, 15 people died from bird flu.

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The outbreak comes just a few months after Egypt’s agricultural ministry resumed poultry exports after what became a 14-year halt following the World Organisation for Animal Health’s listing of Egypt as one of the countries free of bird flu.

Egypt was considered one of the worst affected countries by bird flu, along with Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Thailand.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu spread in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Millions of chickens and ducks were slaughtered.

Poultry farmers often hold back from reporting bird flu outbreaks because it is their livelihood and it is not guaranteed that they will be compensated.

Many people have birds at home as a way of making money but do not tell health officials for fear they will be sanctioned.