Highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been detected in a backyard flock of free-range chickens in Iran, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported. With the detection, this is the first time the virus has been confirmed in Iran since 2012.

The flock, located in Iran’s Mazandaran province near the Caspian Sea, included 25 susceptible birds. Seventeen birds died as a result of contracting avian influenza, while the remaining 8 chickens were culled.

The case was reported in accordance with passive surveillance that is in place in Iran. Samples taken to the Central Veterinary Laboratory of Iran Veterinary Organization and the Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute national laboratories tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza.

The source of the H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in Iran has not yet been determined, but a post-outbreak investigation to determine a cause and to detect a possible spread of the virus has been initiated.

The property has been quarantined and disinfected. In addition, screening and zoning practices have been put in place. Movement control inside the country and control of wildlife reservoirs is also being conducted.

OIE will submit follow-up reports on the case on a weekly basis.

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