Bahama plays down bird flu fears

Preliminary field reports on the investigation of unexplained death of birds on the island of Inagua in the Southern Bahamas were exaggerated. Senior Veterinary officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources indicate that only five birds were involved in the reported incident on that island, reducing the likelihood of an outbreak of avian influenza H5N1.

Veterinary experts indicate that the presence of the deadly H5N1 would have decimated the large flock of flamingoes and other birds on that island.

The birds involved in the incident appear to have been dead for several days: the Senior Veterinary officer reports that there have been no new incidents of avian mortality reported on Inagua.

Investigators will return to the Capital tomorrow; a further update will be made available after their return. The Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources will continue to investigate all reports of unexplained bird mortality.

It is to be noted that other countries in the region have had similar scares recently and that mortality of birds have attributed to other causes and not the deadly virus H5N1 which to date have been confined in Europe, Asia and Africa.
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