Qatar is taking all “necessary measures” to guard residents against a potential bird flu epidemic, authorities have said.
This week, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) issued a statement in response to online concerns over a recent outbreak of the H5N1 virus in Iraq and Lebanon – and rumors of infected birds in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
The MME stated that animals in Qatar are being examined thoroughly, and samples are regularly taken to the laboratory to ensure that they meet international standards.
“That is (also) done to prevent the transmission of any diseases, and confirm the safety of animal missionary.”
Middle East cases
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have only been 10 confirmed cases of bird flu this year and of these, three deaths.
All the patients hailed from Egypt.
However, recently the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that new outbreaks in Iraq and Lebanon could pose a threat to the region.
It said this was “because of political instability and a host of other factors, such as wild bird migration and wintering habits,” CIDRAP reports.
The countries at most risk of infection are Jordan, Syria, and Turkey, while Kuwait and Saudi Arabia could also be exposed, the FAO said.
In Qatar, the risk of avian flu infection is very low, but officials have enforced strict measures in the past.
For example, a ban on many turkey imports last November had many residents scrambling for Thanksgiving substitutes.
According to WHO, bird flu is a type of influenza virus that causes highly infectious and severe respiratory disease in birds.
The flu is not easily transmitted from person to person, but symptoms can be severe if someone becomes infected.
Bird flu can cause fever, malaise, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, abdominal pain, chest pain and diarrhea.
These can then develop quickly and cause severe respiratory problems.
Here’s the full statement from the ministry:
بيان توضيحي من وزارة البلدية والبيئة بخصوص ما أثير مؤخرا بمواقع التواصل الاجتماعي حول #أنفلونزا_الطيور#بيئة_قطر #قطر#Qatar pic.twitter.com/JE3ZxRyk3W
— وزارة البلدية | Ministry Of Municipality (@albaladiya) October 12, 2016
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment has clarified that the Livestock Department that is represented by the Veterinary Quarantines, is taking the necessary measures concerning the entry of all kinds of animals through the different ports of entry.
This is done to ensure the epidemiological situation of the countries that are imported from, before a permission is released.
The department additionally examines the animals and samples them to ensure their laboratory state is up to international standards. This is done in order to prevent the transmission of any diseases, and confirm the safety of animal missionary.
This has come in response to what was shared recently on some social media networks regarding what measures the ministry is taking concerning bird flu.