Togo says bird flu hits poultry farm

Togo says bird flu hits poultry farm

An outbreak of bird flu has been confirmed in the West African nation of Togo for the first time since last year, the Health Ministry said Tuesday.

The virus was detected at a poultry farm housing more than 4,500 birds in the village of Agbata outside the capital, Lome, said a ministry statement read over state television. It was not known how many birds died, but more than 80 per cent of those infected by the flu were fatalities, the ministry said.The statement did not say whether the birds were infected with the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus, which has scientists concerned because it has the potential to infect humans. At least 235 people have died of bird flu worldwide since 2003, according to the World Health Organization.

Most human cases have been linked to contact with infected birds, but health experts worry the virus could mutate into a form that passes easily among humans, sparking a pandemic that some say could kill millions of people and overload health care systems.

The Health Ministry banned the sale of all chicken and poultry products in the region around the farm.



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