The Azizia market was closed after the virus was detected in ducks
25 July 2018| Last updated on 25 July 2018
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in Saudi Arabia confirmed that a new case of bird flu was detected in Riyadh.
The contingency plan was immediately activated after one case of the H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza virus was detected in ducks at the Azizia bird market in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
Abdullah Abalkhail, the ministry spokesperson, said that ducks are carriers of the virus but do not display any symptoms of the infection. The bird market has been closed by officials to prevent moving the birds in the market and disposed of the infected birds in a safe and efficient manner.
Abalkhail stressed in his statement that the ministry successfully stopped the spread of the disease and are controlling the transportation of birds by implementing biosecurity measures and safely disposing of birds in the infected areas.
Bird and poultry keepers were also asked not to go to the Azizia bird market until the site has been cleaned. This is in order to protect their birds from being infected with the virus.
The bird flu is a respiratory disease that has not been proven to be transmitted to humans but spreads rapidly among birds.
The Fingdom had noted 32 H5N8 bird flu outbreaks in total since December 2017 according to the last report that was submitted by Saudi Arabia to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) on July 3rd. The outbreaks were noted in the districts of Riyadh, Al Kharj, Al Mazahmyia, Al Khobar, Al Aziziyah, Dhurma, Al Ahsa, Al Muzahimiyah, Jeddah, Thadiq, Al Qatif, Zulfi, Aldalem and Al Quwaiiyah.
According to the report, 264,330 cases were recorded in total with over 5.3 million birds that were killed and disposed of. The last case of bird flu was recorded in Saudi Arabia on April 17, 2018.
In order to stop the spread of bird flu in the Kingdom, a temporary ban was implemented on the imports of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from India. This comes after the virus was detected in Asian countries.
Even though the ministry has taken the necessary precautions to ensure that bird flu is no longer a risk in the country, it is always still a good idea to ensure that you also take the necessary precautions.
How can you prevent your flock from bird flu?
- Keep your birds enclosed and away from outside birds.
- Ensure that you wear clean clothes, disinfect all your tools and equipment and wash your hands when you work with your birds. It is also a good idea to clean their cages and replace their water daily.
- Don’t borrow tools or cages from others.
- keep new birds separate from your flock for at least 30 days.
- Wash and disinfect your tyres and car before you get home if you are going somewhere where there are birds.
- Keep yourself indoors at high-risk times
What are the symptoms of bird flu?
It is important to know what the symptoms of bird flu are, and to always be on the lookout for them. Symptoms to look out for are:
- Sudden deaths amongst birds without any signs
- Respiratory problems
- Lack of coordination
- A drop in egg production
- Soft-shelled or misshapen eggs
- Swelling around the head, neck and eyes
Different bird species do however show different symptoms so it is important to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of the specific species that you keep.