DAHUK, Iraq, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Thousands of chickens were culled in parts of Iraq as a strain of bird flu tears through the country's poultry industry, officials said Thursday.
Luqman Tayeb Omer with the central veterinarian office in northern Dahuk province said several thousand chickens were infected with the H9 strain, the Kurdish Globe reported.
"More than 50,000 chicks were destroyed at two poultries in Sumail town (in Dahuk) because of the H9 strain of bird flu," he said. Though it does not pose a significant health threat to humans, as does the H5N1 strain, Omer urged poultry farmers and the general population to take precautions to contain any outbreak.
Omer said most of the infected chickens came from areas near the northern city of Mosul and urged the government to prevent more infections by preventing distribution from that region.
In the August edition of the magazine Science News, Daniel Perez with the University of Maryland, College Park, warns the H9 strain could pose a health risk if ignored, however.
"The H9 may be a silent virus that doesn't get noticed until it's too late," he said.
Iraqi Kurdistan had a similar experience in February 2006, when two people died from complications from H5 infections.