7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Bahrain maps out plan to fight bird flu

BAHRAIN has stepped up its fight to keep bird flu at bay by distributing thousands of booklets in three Asian languages, plus Arabic and English.

The booklets, also in Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam, are mainly targeted at poultry farm workers but are also being distributed among all those who come into contact with live birds.

More than 1,000 poultry workers have already been vaccinated against influenza to help their defences against bird flu, said communicable diseases section head Dr Muna Al Mousawi.

The booklets list, among the general precautions, details on hygiene, how to handle birds, their segregation according to age as well as the proper way to sound an alert in case the need arises.

Bahrain is now on "high alert" following an outbreak of bird flu in Saudi Arabia, Dr Al Mousawi said.

She said the only way to prevent the spread of the disease was to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Members of Bahrain's Anti-Bird Flu Committee have also recently finished a refresher course to prepare them for any outbreak. Experts from various organisations, including the Health and Municipalities and Agriculture Ministries are part of the committee.

A special ward set up to receive possible patients at the Salmaniya Medical Complex is also well-stocked with the latest machines and state-of-the-art equipment to treat patients should they come in.

However, Bahrain's top vet said there was no reason to panic after the Saudi outbreak.

Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry animal wealth director Dr Salman Abdul Nabi Ebrahim revealed Bahrain had banned imports of live birds from Saudi Arabia immediately after the outbreak.

He said Bahrain was conducting research into bird flu on a daily basis to ensure the country remained safe and said a team is regularly testing birds at poultry farms and advising farmers on the symptoms of avian influenza. [email protected]

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