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Wild boars killed in Iraq over swine flu fears

  • Story Highlights
  • Animals killed "to break a barrier of fear," zoo official says
  • The animals were tested prior to being put to sleep, didn't have virus
  • Iraq had no reported cases of swine flu
By Jomana Karadsheh
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Three wild boars were put to sleep in Iraq on Friday because of swine flu fears, a zoo official said.

The decision to kill the 10-year-old wild boars in Baghdad was a precautionary measure by the government to prevent an outbreak of swine flu, said Adel Musa, the zoo director.

It was done "to break a barrier of fear" zoo visitors had developed in recent days because of the spread of swine flu worldwide, he said.

The animals were tested prior to being put to sleep and found not to carry the virus, Musa said, adding that they were killed humanely.

Iraq had no reported cases of swine flu -- known as influenza A (H1N1) -- as of Sunday, the World Health Organization said.

The government has allocated $30 million to respond to possible outbreaks, according to the Iraqi ministry of health.

Health officials at border crossings are checking travelers for swine flu symptoms, it said.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, the country's semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north, which has a large number of wild boars, has banned boar hunting, said Zirian Othman, the region's health minister.

Othman said residents are being advised not to eat pork. Medical teams have been deployed to the region's international airports to monitor travelers, especially those from affected countries, he said.

Should the region be affected by the virus, there is enough medication for 75,000 people, Othman said.

All About Swine FluWorld Health Organization

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