Thursday

19th May 2022

EU on alert as bird flu hits Romania and Turkey

  • Europe's biggest fear is that the virus mutates into a form transmissable to humans (Photo: EUobserver)

European health authorities were put on alert over the weekend following reports that bird-flu has broken out in Romania and Turkey - with the potential risk of infection for humans.

In Romania over the weekend, the mass-slaughter of poultry was carried out after the discovery of three flu-infected birds in the village of Smardan. 3400 persons in the affected area were given anti-flu vaccine in an attempt to stop the virus spreading from birds to humans.

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Up to 125,000 people will be vaccinated over the coming days.

Meanwhile Turkey has also confirmed its first cases of bird flu with agriculture minister Mehdi Eker announcing the incidences on Saturday (8 October).

Germany and France urged Romania and Turkey on Sunday to make public all information about the outburst of the air-born influenza, or bird-flu, to EU experts.

The German authorities said thay were preparing emergency measures to stop bird-flu from entering Germany, and the French National Food Security Agency has been put on the highest alert.

Europe fears that the bird virus will mutate into a form tranmissable to humans, and create a genuine pandemic in Europe.

So far, the virus has claimed 65 lives- and those of millions of birds- in Asia since 2003, and has been found in birds in Russia and Kazakhstan. Up until now, no cases of bird flu had been confirmed in Europe.

Experts are however still trying to establish whether the virus that killed the birds in Romania is the deadly H5N1 strain, or a less virulent type. The Romanian authorities announced on Sunday that initial tests for H5N1 were negative, and that further tests would be carried out during the following days.

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