DUSHANBE, March 17, Asia-Plus  -- The veterinary service within the Ministry of Agriculture monitors the situation in all the cities and districts across the republic in accordance with the risk of avian influenza (bird flu) spreading to Tajikistan.  

Tajikistan’s chief veterinarian, Mullojon Amirbekov, has told Asia-Plus that they distribute information posters to all poultry farms in the republic.  These posters have been prepared by the Tajik veterinary service in cooperation of the UN FAO Country Office in Tajikistan.

“The posters present information about symptoms of the disease and other useful information,” Tajik chief veterinarian said, adding that the country’s government is taking measures to prevent the spread of the avian virus.  

We will recall that in an effort to minimize the risk of bird flu spreading to the country, Tajik authorities have put ban on all imports of chickens and poultry products from the countries, where n outbreak of bird flu was registered, and quarantine has been introduced at all major poultry in the republic as precautionary measure.   

According to some sources, the Tajik government has called for international assistance to prevent the spread of bird flu.  Proposals on the matter have been worked out and sent to international organizations, asking for help.

In the meantime, some media report that the United Nations and the Afghan government have confirmed an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in Afghanistan.  According to Radio Liberty, six birds were found with the strain.  They all came from the east of the country, from the capital Kabul, the city of Jalalabad, and the district of Khogiani.  Samples from the northern city of Kunduz and the southern city of Kandahar tested negative.  Experts had earlier expressed concern that the H5N1 strain would appear in Afghanistan.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed millions of birds and about 100 people around the world since 2003. Most of the human victims caught the disease from very close contact with infected birds.