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Outbreak Of Bird Flu Claims Two Lives In Pakistan

Fresh outbreak of bird flu claims two lives in Pakistan, says UN agency

At least two Pakistanis have died in a fresh outbreak of avian influenza close to the country's "poultry belt," the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has reported.

Pakistani health officials informed WHO of eight suspected human cases of infection with the H5N1 virus - the virus responsible for outbreaks of bird flu around the world in recent years - in the area around the city of Peshawar.

In an update issued at the weekend, WHO said two people have died in the outbreak and one person has now recovered.

The outbreak in humans was detected after a series of culling operations in the area in response to an outbreak of the virus in local poultry. Samples taken by health officials have tested positive in the national laboratory and are now being referred to a WHO laboratory for further analysis.

The agency is helping Pakistani health officials conduct epidemiological investigations and assess the current surveillance, prevention and control measures in place to see whether they need tightening or adjusting.

Pakistan has been hit by multiple outbreaks of bird flu in its domestic poultry population since last year, while this year there has also been outbreaks in wild birds.

WHO officials are also assisting local health authorities in Myanmar and Indonesia in response to outbreaks in those countries.

In Myanmar, a seven-year-old girl from Shan State (East) has recovered after developing symptoms of fevers and headaches last month. Samples from the case have tested positive for the H5N1 virus.

Indonesian officials have confirmed that a 47-year-old man from the country's Banten Province has bird flu and has been hospitalized since 9 December. So far, 115 human cases have been confirmed in Indonesia, and 92 have been fatal.


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