Pakistan finds H5N1 bird flu on Karachi farm

KARACHI, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Pakistani authorities have detected an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of bird flu at a poultry farm on the outskirts of its biggest city, Karachi, but officials said on Friday there was no likelihood of any human infection.

Several outbreaks of the H5N1 strain have been found in birds in Pakistan over the past year and the first human case was confirmed late last year.

In December, the World Health Organisation said it had established a single case of human infection of bird flu in a sick family in Pakistan but there was no apparent risk of it spreading further. The man died.

"Laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of the virus in a poultry farm in Karachi, and we are now monitoring the workers on the farm as well as another one adjacent to it," said an official of the Sindh provincial government.

Karachi is the capital of Sindh.

"But there are no signs of any human infection," the official said.

Kamal Akhtar Siddiqui, general secretary of the Karachi Wholesale Poultry Association, said about 5,500 chickens at the farm had died because of the virus while 500 that survived had been culled.

"There is no panic. The poultry farm where the virus has been found did not follow precautions and so faced trouble," he said. (Reporting by Faisal Aziz; Editing by robert Birsel)