Romanian authorities are pulling out all the stops to contain an outbreak of birdflu amid fears the virus that causes it could mutate and spread to humans. Hundreds of birds are being destroyed in several villages on the Danube Delta,in the east of the country, where cases have been reported in recent days.
Quarantines have been imposed on two villages and five others where there have been suspicious bird deaths. A ban on taking any livestock from the Delta to market has also been imposed. Tests are underway to discover whether the virus is the same strain that has killed 65 people and millions of birds in Asia.
Little is being left to chance. In the communities affected people are being vaccinated against the disease and farms are being disinfected. If the Romanian cases turn out to be the H5N1 strain, they would be further evidence the latest outbreak has spread to Europe. UN health experts have warned that a pandemic of that virus could kill millions of people worldwide.