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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced it has donated 2,000 suits of personal protection equipment (PPE) and Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) equipment to Pakistan to counter the spread of bird flu.

Thus far Pakistan has recorded confirmed cases of the H5N1 strain at 28 small poultry farms, resulting in the slaughter of some 120,000 birds.

However, it is hoped the donation will help the Pakistani National Reference Lab (NRL) and its 11 field labs to diagnose and isolate confirmed cases more rapidly.

The US Embassy said that the new PCR equipment will allow the NRL to determine the strain of the virus within six hours, compared with 24-72 hours at the moment.

Meanwhile the 2,000 suits of PPE also donated will enable the Rapid Response teams to more comprehensively investigate avian flue outbreaks and even to handle dead birds.

The donation comes a month after USAID donated PPE worth $50,000 to the Vietnamese government to combat bird flu as it spreads across south-east Asia.

track© Adfero Ltd

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