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Saudi Arabia bans Afghan poultry imports over bird flu outbreak

Staff Writer |
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has temporarily banned imports of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from Afghanistan after a highly contagious bird flu virus was reported in the country.

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The ministry said in a statement that its temporary ban was issued in accordance with the warning released by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

According to the OIE, the Afghan government recently reported two outbreaks of a highly contagious bird flu virus.

The OIE said the H5 virus was detected in a backyard in Kabul where it killed six birds and in the Bagrami village nearby, where it killed 15, the Paris-based OIE said in a report.

Early this month, the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and industries (ACCI) called on all relevant institutions to help curb the outbreak, which they feared could lead to major losses for poultry farmers if left unchecked.

This came after an outbreak was earlier detected in Khost province.

“We have professionalized our activities in those parts (the eastern parts of the country) compared with previous years, but unfortunately, the outbreak of some diseases kill many chickens at once,” said ACCI spokesman Siyam Psarlai.

The Afghan Ministry of Agriculture said the virus had spread to Khost by wild birds, and signs of the disease had been detected in Paktia.

The ministry said it has managed to bring outbreaks in some areas under control with the help of international organizations.

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