Bird flu reaches Persian Gulf

Originally at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/10/21/MNGH7FBVQ01.DTL

KUWAIT CITY – (AP) — A flamingo found on a Kuwaiti beach had the strain of bird flu that has devastated poultry flocks and killed more than 60 people in Asia — the first known case of the deadly bird flu in the Arab world.

Also Friday, Thailand reported an 18-month-old boy was suffering from bird flu, and China reported two new outbreaks in poultry.

Mohammed al-Mihana of Kuwait’s Public Authority for Agriculture and Fisheries said tests showed the flamingo had the deadly H5N1 flu strain, while a second bird — an imported falcon — had the milder H5N2 variant.

Al-Mihana said the imported bird, quarantined at the airport, was a falcon, not a peacock as reported Thursday. Both flamingo and falcon were destroyed.

Officials in this small Persian Gulf state said there was no sign bird flu had spread to humans and they saw no need to slaughter domestic bird stocks. Poultry and eggs from local farms were free of the disease, they said.

Al-Mihana said teams would continue to fumigate farms and bird markets and are checking places where birds stop en route from Asia to Africa.

There have been worries about outbreaks in the Middle East because the region sits on important migratory routes. Migratory birds earlier spread the virus to Russia, Turkey and Romania.

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