Two cases of H5N8 avian flu recorded in Saudi Arabia

Tracy Otterson puts avian influenza samples in the centrifuge to clean them up before moving to extraction, in this file photo taken on April 8, 2015 at the University of Minnesotaís Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2018
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Two cases of H5N8 avian flu recorded in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture on Sunday announced detection of two cases of H5N8 avian flu in Al-Kharj governorate, reported the Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi authorities are actively taking measures to contain the virus. In its daily briefing, the ministry affirmed that the number of samples collected from different parts of the Kingdom since the first case was reported reached 12, 829. Out of the samples, only 171 were tested positive for the virus.
Bird flu strains have hit poultry flocks in a number of countries across the world in recent years, with some types of the disease also causing human infections and deaths.
H5N8 is highly pathogenic to birds (high death rates) and was first discovered in Ireland in 1983. Since then it has been reported in numerous locations around the world.
This strain, however, has not caused any human infections so far anywhere in the world.
According to an Arab News report published in January, the Saudi Wildlife Authority (SWA) enforced a ban on the hunting of migratory birds to help prevent avian influenza.
The migratory birds include houbara bustards, passerines, flamingos, pelicans, cranes and turtle doves.
They temporarily stay, mainly in Al-Hair in Riyadh, Al-Asfar Lake, Jubail Marine Protected Area, Domat Al-Jandal in Al-Jouf, Farasan Islands and Wadi Aljizan. They will leave at the start of spring.


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”