Avian flu

Vaccination campaign announced for poultry in Tuz Khurmatu

TUZ KHURMATU — Veterinary and health officials in Salah Al-Din’s Tuz Khurmatu, have initiated a campaign to vaccinate all domestic birds and poultry within the district over the next two weeks, following a significant number of recent deaths among local bird populations.

Najm Hadi, the head of communications at the Tuz Khurmatu Veterinary Department, explained the urgency of the situation to 964media, “The campaign will target not only poultry farms but also private locations where birds are kept. Our goal is to prevent the spread of avian influenza, which has recently been detected in the area. We aim to protect these birds from the virus through vaccination.”

The initiative comes in response to a severe outbreak reported on May 15, where numerous geese, turkeys, chickens, and birds were found dead over several days. The Tuz Khurmatu Veterinary Department plans to expand the campaign to ensure all poultry farms in the district are sterilized and provided with the appropriate medication.

The district is home to over 15 poultry farms and more than 100 bird-keeping and selling locations, underscoring the scale of the vaccination effort.

This local outbreak mirrors a wider regional concern. Weeks ago, a large number of gulls were reported dead at Sulaymaniyah’s Lake Dukan and Raparin’s Little Zap River, with avian influenza confirmed nearly two weeks later.

Begard Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources, highlighted the risks at a press conference, noting that the virus has the potential to transmit to humans, though the gulls’ habitats are isolated and there are no nearby poultry farms or close contact with villages.

Additionally, the Salah Al-Din Provincial Council has recently called on health, police, and civil defense departments to intensify measures to control the spread of bird flu after a gull in the Ain al-Faras area tested positive for H5N1, a strain of avian influenza.

Avian diseases like influenza and Newcastle disease pose significant risks globally, potentially causing high mortality rates in poultry, disrupting economies, and threatening food security. Effective disease management includes prompt reporting, quarantine measures, and culling infected animals to prevent spread, with international organizations like the World Organisation for Animal Health playing key roles in monitoring and controlling these outbreaks to safeguard public health and agriculture.