The contradictory and often confused reporting on avian flu continues to come out of Iraq over this weekend with denials (see Babel denies registration of bird flu and prevent the entry of poultry to maintain) being published almost as quickly as reports of new outbreaks (see Iraq: Bird Flu Reports From Babil Governorate).
Officially Iraq hasn't acknowledged any bird flu since it notified the OIE of 6 outbreaks which struck at the start of the year.
Since then, however, Iraqi media has been filled with reports of major poultry losses (see Iraq: Media report: 200 thousand chickens culled in the district towns due to H5N1 bird flu) and media reports suggesting millions of birds have been culled.
While the actual situation on the ground remains murky, we do have an announcement today from the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers on steps ordered in order to contain bird flu.
Adoption of the recommendations of the Supreme Committee to follow pandemic influenza illness
2016-03-25 02:27:16 | (Voice of Iraq) – Baghdad
The General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers approved the recommendations of the Supreme Committee to follow flu epidemics.
The secretariat said in a statement that "the recommendations provided for the discontinuation of the Agriculture Ministry's book of 5/7/2016 strategic plan action to control and contain the epidemic, according to the animal health organization and instruction down veterinary service in the investigation and survey in all provinces of Iraq and the security services."
And added as "included not allowing shipments of goods of animal origin into the Central and southern governorates only after confirming the existence of the Ministry of Commerce issued import leave."
The statement said "urgent advance approval for $ 250 million to the Ministry of agriculture/veterinary service add to the previous advance 210 million dinars to secure necessary needs and supplies needed to contain bird flu, that acted as instructed by 2016 budget outline after the advance sections and settled during the current year.
And recommended that the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers "urged poultry owners on comprehensive insurance on their projects to the Iraqi insurance company and reinsurer to reduce damages in the event of epidemics and diseases.
He noted "to oblige poultry entrepreneurs recommendations to provide a written pledge to the veterinary department not to use or buy any vaccine final approval, in addition to the Committee an updated position version authorization States banned based on the sender's position of the veterinary service.
The recommendations also stipulates, according to the statement by the Ministry of agriculture in Kurdistan provide the Federal Department of agriculture/veterinary service with regular monthly veterinary epidemiological situation official mail or email in order to standardize epidemiological animal health organization position. "
Wasit Governorate Council, announced on 12 July being bird banflaonza cases in a number of poultry in areas of Essaouira, azizieh, northern province, announcing campaigns around more than two and a half million birds chicken, the Health Ministry also called for urgent action to curb the spread of the disease.
The Agriculture Ministry halted poultry movement between provinces of Baghdad and Basra to prevent spread of anflaonza birds in the country.
Absent from all of these recent reports are any lab results identifying the pathogen behind these outbreaks, although Iraq's long history with HPAI H5N1 certainly put that at the top of the suspect list.
This statement seems to corroborate earlier media reports that at least 2.5 million birds have been destroyed in order to eradicate the disease.
And a final note, the allocation of an additional 250,000,000 dinars to fight these outbreaks works out to be about $214,000 USD.