Health authorities in Saudi Arabia have banned the transfer of live birds inside the country, after a fresh outbreak of bird flu in the kingdom on Saturday, the official Saudi news agency SPA said.
The transport ban was imposed on poultry farms, transport firms and bird breeders after seven cases of bird flu were reported in the last 24 hours throughout the Kingdom, SPA said.
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture said poultry farms and transport firms would need to obtain the necessary licenses in order to transport poultry.
Five cases of bird flu were reported in Riyadh in recent days, one in the central Qassim region, and one on the Tarout Island in the Arabian Gulf.
In recent weeks, regional countries including UAE, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain have banned poultry poultry imports from Saudi Arabia following an outbreak of bird flu, the kingdom’s official news agency SPA reported.
In recent years, the highly-contagious strain of bird flu, clinically known as H5N8, has hit poultry farms in a number of locations around the world, with some variations of the disease causing human infections and deaths.
As part of an emergency response, field teams in Kharj and Dharma provinces have culled a total of 813 birds, with an additional 1,325 culled in Ahsa and 800 birds in Qassim.
Veterinary teams from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture carried out inspections of 25 markets and bird-breeding farms across the kingdom, the report said.
The ministry also advised bird breeders in Saudi Arabia to avoid purchasing live birds from unknown sources, or selling at unauthorized markets, in order to minimize the spread of the H5N8 avian flu.
The ban was expected to be lifted after the virus was contained within two weeks, Dr. Abdullah Kadman, a member of the board of directors at the Saudi Poultry Producers Association said.
Head of the National Committee for Poultry Producers, Jamal Al-Sadoun, warned companies to comply with the ministry’s instructions on the transport ban, to curb the spread of the disease that was concentrated in the Riyadh region.