60,000 chickens suspected of exposure to re-emergent bird flu in Samarra, Iraq

SAMARRA, Iraq — Nearly 60,000 chickens in Samarra, Iraq, are suspected to have been exposed to the bird flu. The Governor of Saladin Governorate, Raed al-Jabouri, called on poultry owners and citizens in Samarra to take the highest precautions in the face of the virus, which re-emerged years after its disappearance.

Al-Jabouri told Shafaq News that a three-kilometer poultry isolation zone has been imposed in Samarra to avoid the virus’s transmission.

The Governor pointed out that the exposed chickens are used for egg production and they are doing all they can to ensure food safety. Health teams from the health, environment, and agricultural ministries will arrive in Samarra to follow the situation more closely, he stated.

Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that rarely affects humans. More than a dozen fatal types of bird flu have been identified.

Health officials fear a possible global outbreak if the bird flu virus mutates into a form that is more easily transmitted from person to person. Researchers are working on vaccines to help protect against bird flu.