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Saudi authorities call for calm after bird flu case discovered at Riyadh farm

A bird flu case was discovered at a poultry farm in Riyadh [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 February, 2020

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A case of the highly pathogenic bird flu [H5N8] was discovered in a poultry farm in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
A case of bird flu discovered at a farm in Riyadh is under control, a Saudi agriculture official assured the public on Tuesday that the latest outbreak of the disease posed no risk to humans.

The highly pathogenic bird flu [H5N8] case was recorded by the country's ministry of environment, water and agriculture after it was discovered at a poultry farm in the capital, where measures where quickly taken to stop the virus from spreading.

The case cannot be transmitted to humans, ministry spokesman Abdullah Aba Al-Khalil said, adding that the first case of bird flu was registered in the kingdom in 2017, but had since been contained.

Despite the assurances, the agriculture ministry has urged local poultry farms to remain vigilant and to put appropriate preventative measures when dealing with birds.

They were also advised to immediately report any suspected cases of the disease.

Khalil also urged Saudis to refrain from hunting wild birds to prevent a further spread of the potentially deadly virus.

The H5N1 bird flu appeared in 2003 and killed more than 400 people mainly in Southeast Asia.

It first ravaged poultry farms in Hong Kong, before being transmitted to humans. The WHO declared a global health emergency, but the toll remained limited.

Read also: Could coronavirus impact oil markets?

The emergence of a new coronavirus has sparked worldwide panic over the growing risk of animal-linked viruses to human health.

The new virus has killed almost 500 people, inflected more than 24,000 in mainland China and spread to more than 20 countries.

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