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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006, 08:49 GMT 09:49 UK
Burkina Faso gets deadly bird flu
Burkina Faso has become the fifth African country to confirm an outbreak of the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu.

Minister for Animal Resources Tiemoko Konate said the disease had been found in samples taken from a farm near the capital, Ouagadougou.

A total of 65 samples from different regions had been sent for analysis to a laboratory in Italy, Mr Konate said.

Earlier this year Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Egypt reported their first cases of the deadly strain.

"The disease is a real threat. Before the threat was at our borders, now it is within the country. We must continue to be watchful both inside and at the borders," Mr Konate said on public radio, AFP news agency reports.

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He asked people to remain calm and said the government had ordered the farm to be quarantined and its poultry culled, the agency says.

No human cases of the H5N1 strain have yet been found in Africa but the United Nations has warned of a possible regional disaster if the disease continues to spread.

The H5N1 strain of bird flu has spread across Europe, Africa and parts of Asia and killed nearly 100 people worldwide since it re-emerged in 2003.

Almost all human infections so far are thought to have been caused by direct contact with sick poultry.

But scientists fear the virus could mutate to spread between humans, triggering a global pandemic.




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