Saudi Bird Flu Virus: A Risk To Humans?

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture identified several cases of bird flu at a poultry farm in Huraymila, Riyadh and has killed 35,000 birds who had been in contact with the infected birds.

Ministry spokesman Dr. Abdullah Aba Al-Khail said that the subtype of the Influenza A virus diagnosed was H5N8 which only affects birds and cannot be transferred to humans.

The spokesman noted the importance of biosecurity at such facilities and called on poultry farmers to be vigilant, put in place appropriate preventive measures when dealing with birds, and not to introduce new birds during the current period.

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He also urged Saudis not to hunt migratory or wild birds in order to prevent the risk of contracting the virus and to inform the Livestock Emergency Room (on the toll-free number 8002470000) of any suspected cases or instances of multiple bird deaths.

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