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Kurdistan Region bans chicken imports from 39 countries amid bird flu epidemic

Staff Writer |
The Kurdistan Region has placed a ban on chicken imports from 39 countries after bird flu spread in central Iraq and Iran.

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"Necessary [measures] for preventing the sickness from spreading to the Kurdistan Region have been undertaken by the Ministry. The prevention committee in the KRG has been reactivated again.

Quarantine rooms for individuals suspected of being infected will be prepared in hospitals in the cities," Dr. Khalis Qadir, a spokesperson for the KRG's Ministry of Health, told Rudaw.

Earlier this month, two people diagnosed with swine flu died in Saladin province in the town of Dujail about 60 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Iraq’s agriculture ministry also found a case of bird flu at a poultry house in Diyala province on January 7.

Nearly 40 million chickens have been culled in Iran and central Iraq due to infection over the course of the three-week bird flu epidemic.

"When we found out that the bird flu had spread in these places, we directly told the detection points that are quarantined in the Kurdistan Region not to accept poultry imports from places where there is bird flu," Dr. Khalis Ahmed Hamadamin, a senior official in the KRG's Ministry of Agriculture, told Rudaw.

The Ministry of Agriculture said it had requested 1 billion Iraqi dinars (about $840,000) to tackle the epidemic, but has so far only received 430 million dinars.

"It might not be sufficient to meet all our needs, but it is better than nothing," Hamadamin added.

There are around 1,300 poultry farms in the Kurdistan Region, producing 100,000 tons of chicken annually. The Region imports a further 60,000 tons.

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