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Zanzibar engrossed in bird flu scare

Published on 5 December, 2006, Last updated at 12:30 GMT

By Issa Yussuf

Zanzibar bird flu task force has incinerated 40 chickens in their continuing bid to check the threat of bird flu in the Isles.

"We seized a chicken consignment imported from Tanzania Mainland," Dr Kassim Gharib from the task force said.

He said people suspected to have imported the chicks escaped arrest but said police were still looking for them.

Dr Gharib blamed the Zanzibar business community for continuing to import poultry products despite an indefinite ban imposed last year.

Under Zanzibar law, any person convicted of importing poultry products risks a minimum sentence of six months.

The task force is part of Zanzibar's Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock's efforts to combat the disease in the island.

Between April and October this year, the task force confiscated and destroyed hundreds of eggs and chickens smuggled into Zanzibar.

"Since bird flu has not been controlled in many countries, the ban of poultry products from outside Zanzibar remains," Dr Gharib said.

Apart from the on going awareness campaign about bird flu, Zanzibar has intensified efforts to control the importation of poultry products and pork, including those from Tanzania Mainland.

The deadly avian flu has been found in several African countries. The poultry industry in Asia and a number of European countries have been ravaged by the disease, which has killed a number of people.


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