Iranian government reports H5N1 bird flu outbreak

Iran has reported an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N1 bird flu virus in the northern part of the country, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday, citing a report from the Iranian agriculture ministry.

The outbreaks killed 10 birds out of a total of nearly 230 in a house in Mahmoodabad on the coast of the Caspian Sea, the OIE said in a report posted on its website. All other animals were destroyed.

Last year Iran had reported outbreaks of another highly contagious bird flu virus, the H5N8.

Bird flu is caused by a type of influenza virus that is hosted by birds, but may infect several species of mammals. It was first identified in Italy in the early 1900s and is now known to exist worldwide. A strain of the H5N1-type of avian influenza virus that emerged in 1997 has been identified as the most likely source of a future influenza pandemic.Strains of avian influenza virus may infect various types of animals, including birds, pigs, horses, seals, whales and humans. However, wild fowl act as natural asymptomatic carriers, spreading it to more susceptible domestic stocks.