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January 24, 2006
Arab health ministers to meet for bird flu session
 

Health ministers from the League of Arab States (LAS), an association of Arab nations, will meet in Cairo Tuesday for an emergency session on bird flu.

The ministers representing 21 Arab nations and the Palestine National Authority (PNA) will consider emergency measures to prevent a bird flu pandemic, given the backdrop of reports about human cases, especially four confirmed deaths from the virus in Turkey. Neighboring countries, including Georgia, have already taken emergency measures to prevent the diseases spilling over the border, but the issue is still a serious cause of concern.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif convened the Cabinet Monday to discuss the critical situation on the domestic poultry market. The session was prompted by consumer concerns which sent the retail price for poultry meat to nearly half of its real prime cost.

Nazif reiterated that no birds infected with the lethal H5N1 strain of the virus had been found in Egypt.

However, a vice president of Egypt's general union of chicken producers, Mohamed ash-Shafii, told the conference that an increasing number of poultry farms, which employ 2.5 million people, were suffering substantial losses with sales dropping due to international fears over bird flu.

Source : Rian