Senegal reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak on poultry farm

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Senegal has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu on a poultry farm, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday.

The outbreak, which occurred in the Thies region east of the capital Dakar, has killed 58 000 birds in the 100 000-strong flock, with the remaining animals culled, the OIE said, citing a report from Senegal’s veterinary services.

H5N1 – a type of influenza virus – causes a highly infectious, severe respiratory disease in birds called avian influenza, or "bird flu".

Humans can occasionally contract H5N1 avian influenza, but transmission from an infected person to another is difficult. When people do become infected, the mortality rate is about 60%, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Infection in people is mostly associated with close contact with infected live or dead birds, or H5N1-contaminated environments.

So far, there is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly prepared and thoroughly cooked food.

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