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EghtesadOnline: Iran has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu virus among backyard poultry in the north of the country, the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health said on Monday, citing a report from Iran’s Agriculture Ministry, Reuters reported.

The virus infected 10 out of a flock of 138 geese, ducks, free-range chickens in the village of Valiran in the Tehran region, the report said.

Five birds died of the virus with the rest of the flock slaughtered, it said.

Iranian poultry farms are hit by avian flu every year around this time. The H5N8 strain of bird flu infecting Iranian farms is deadly for poultry, but according to WHO, although human infection with the virus cannot be excluded, the likelihood is low, according to Financial Tribune.

According to Nasser Nabipour, the head of the board of directors at Tehran's Union of Producers of Egg-Laying Chicken, the first strains of avian flu hit Iran in the fiscal 2010-11.

"The more deadly strain of the virus emerged in 2015-16, infecting over 1,500 egg-laying hen farms," he has been quoted as saying.

Most of the egg-laying units in Iran are located in the provinces of Tehran, Alborz, Qazvin, East Azarbaijan and Qom that produce 80% of Iran’s total egg output.

Last year, the outbreak in egg-laying chicken farms initially led to a sharp rise in egg prices amid shortage of supply. Later, the government moved to meet shortage and balance the market by importing eggs, mainly from Turkey.

Iran produces over 2 million tons of chicken annually and is among the biggest producer of chicken in the world.

Iran’s per capita chicken consumption stands at 26-27 kg per year, while the global average is 13-15 kg.

Some 100 million egg-laying hens were reportedly infected with the deadly avian flu in Iran last year, causing more than $500 million in losses to poultry farms. 

About 300 egg-laying hens were shuttered due to the outbreak and the remaining units operated below capacity, he said last year. 

 

Tehran Bird Flu H5N8 backyard poultry