Jordan’s Health Ministry confirms first bird cases of avian flu
AMMAN, Jordan – Jordan confirmed its first cases of bird flu on Friday in domesticated turkeys north of the capital, finding that up to four of the birds had died of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.Turkey, Iraq and Egypt are the only countries in the region where people have died of the H5N1 strain, which has killed a total of 105 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. But the discovery of sick birds in several Middle Eastern countries has led to extensive slaughters.Jordan’s announcement on the afflicted turkeys came after authorities on Thursday gave people living near the borders with Israel and the Palestinian territories – the area where Kafranjeh is located – a week to eat any birds they were raising for household consumption, after which they would be slaughtered.The World Health Organization is also testing the dead birds, said Agriculture Minister Akef Al-Zu’bi. “But we are dealing with the case as positive,” he said. Authorities were slaughtering all birds within a two-mile radius of where the turkeys died.Jordan had already banned imports of poultry products and pet birds and allocated $8.5 million to handle a possible outbreak. Most of that would go to vaccinating poultry and compensating owners of destroyed flocks.Virtually all the people infected with bird flu are believed to have caught it from poultry. But scientists have long warned that the virus, which is prone to mutation, could transform itself into a version that spreads easily from person to person, touching off a pandemic.Most people killed by bird flu have been in Asia, and on Saturday China confirmed its 11th death from the disease. The migrant worker died Tuesday at a hospital in Shanghai- the first death in China’s biggest city.
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