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Avian virus confirmed in Malir

February 24, 2008

KARACHI: As test results confirmed the presence of the Avian Influenza (AI) virus in a Malir farm on Saturday evening — the third outbreak in Karachi since Jan 1 — government officials are reportedly sitting passively as poultry farmers claimed that about 4,500 birds, whose health status was earlier doubted, were killed in the small hours of Saturday at a Malir farm.

Sources privy to what is maintained as “voluntary culling” said that developments at the farm was a major shift from the approved AI protocol.

The Sindh government Director Poultry, Dr Ali Akbar Soomro, said it was good that birds had been killed voluntarily as there were chances of the dreaded virus spreading. “I was told in the evening from Islamabad that the samples sent there related to the suspected farm had been found positive for AI (H5N1).”