Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi Arabia is preparing itself against a possible outbreak of bird flu by adopting precautionary measures and increasing cooperation between relevant government departments as the Ministry of Health will continues to examine poultry farms and test migrating birds.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates have adopted a string of measures to combat bird flu if it is discovered on its territory while Jordan and Israel agreed to form a common front to stop the disease from spreading.
After the death of a parrot from avian flu while in quarantine, the British government urged the European Union to ban the import of all live birds in an attempt to halt the spread of bird flue. The European Commission is expected to agree in a meeting in the next 48 hours.
As an initial measure, the Ministry of Health allocated 25 million Riyals (more than $6.6 million dollars) to buy medicine to be used for the treatment of the deadly disease, according to Dr. Yaqub al Mazruh, Undersecretary of Preventive Medicine at the Ministry.
Ministry spokesperson Dr. Khaled al Mirghalani told Asharq al Awsat that the funds will be spent primarily on stocking Tamiflu, the only internationally recognized medicine to combat the virus.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health in London confirmed on Sunday its first case of bird flu and indicated that the virus that killed a parrot imported from Surinam in South America was the virulent strain H5N1 which can infect humans.
In Cairo, an import ban on birds and poultry was in place as thousands of ducklings imported from France were expected to be culled an official in the civil aviation authority indicated because of fears the virus might spread.
Five thousand migrating birds were believed o have died in the last few weeks in northwestern Iran of unknown causes, the student agency reported.
Samples were being sent to the World Health Organization to examine whether bird flu had arrived to Western Azerbaijan , close to Turkey and Azerbaijan .