Feb 18, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Livestock officials in Pakistan said yesterday that the H5N1 avian influenza virus hit chickens in the northwestern part of the country, the region where December outbreaks were linked to suspected human-to-human transmission of the virus and Pakistan’s first confirmed human case.Rafiq-ul-Usmani, a food and agriculture ministry official, said samples from a poultry farm near Abbottabad, in North-West Frontier province, were positive for the H5N1 virus and that culling at the farm had begun, Reuters reported yesterday.About 5,000 chickens have been culled at the farm, Ali Akber Kahn, a Mansehra district livestock minister, told Dawn, one of Pakistan’s English-language newspapers, yesterday. He said authorities sealed the area around the farm and were vaccinating poultry in other areas to control the spread of the virus.So far no workers at the farm had shown signs of infection, he told Dawn.Pakistan’s last outbreaks struck two commercial farms near Karachi , according to a Feb 4 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).Elsewhere, government officials in Bangladesh said today that H5N1 outbreaks have spread to 43 of the nation’s 64 districts, according to a report from Agence France-Presse (AFP). So far workers have culled about 800,000 birds, the report said.M.M. Kahn, a senior official with the Bangladesh Poultry Association, told AFP that the H5N1 outbreaks have shuttered at least 40% of the country’s 150,000 commercial farms and have put 500,000 people out of work.Yesterday workers began slaughtering 150,000 birds at a farm in a suburb of Dhaka, the capital, signifying the first outbreak in the city, the Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday. Mohammad Salahuddin Ahmed, director of the country’s livestock ministry, said more than 100 workers were assisting with the cull. “We are very cautious so that the virus can’t spread to local neighborhoods,” he told the AP.The outbreak in Dhaka occurred at the Omega farm, according to media reports. Kahn told AFP that the Omega farm is known for its rigorous adherence to biosafety regulations and that an outbreak there shows the virus is out of control, despite assurances from the government.See also:OIE reports on 2008 Pakistan outbreaks
MAINTAINING momentum will be the order of the day when the defending champions Guyana Jaguars clash with the Leeward Islands Hurricanes today in round two of the Regional Four-Day Championships at Warner Park in St Kitts.The Jaguars are second on the points table, but will definitely start this round as firm favourites, taking into consideration their huge win in the opening round on Monday.They currently sit on 17.8 points, .2 behind leaders Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.However, complacency will be the only thing that Leon Johnson and company will have to resist, but the Jaguars have never given the impression that this is something which imbeds itself in the way they operate.Monday’s win against the Jamaica Scorpions was the 18th time the Guyanese have gone undefeated since the 2013/2014 season.However, the contest will still generate a lot of interest in both countries, since the hosts have displayed plenty of character in their opening encounter, where they drew the game against former champions Barbados Pride last Monday at the venue.Antigua & Barbuda’s Rahkeem Cornwall led the Hurricanes’ charge when he finished with match figures of nine for 218.After that game, coach of Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Reginald Benjamin, has hailed his team’s positive start, as encouraging.He told the Daily Observer newspaper that his charges look forward to their match against the defending champions, adding that he expects the team to improve as the competition progresses.On the other hand, the Jaguars’ batting and bowling departments have definitively clicked as a unit in round one. Four batsmen scored half-centuries, while the bowlers did their part, especially left-arm spinners Gudakesh Motie and Veerasammy Permaul, but their fielding remains a concern.Head coach Esaun Crandon has urged his side to improve in this area, in order to be a competitive force.Jaguars earned their points from a 181-run win over Jamaica while Red Force blew away Windward Islands Volcanoes by nine wickets at Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad.Hurricanes are on 8.8 points, Pride on 6, Scorpions 4.8 and Volcanoes 4.Teams earn 12 points for an outright victory while extra points for batting, spin bowling and pace bowling are also up for grabs.Meanwhile, in other second-round matches Scorpions take on Volcanoes at Sabina Park and Red Force play Pride at Queen’s Park Oval.