The Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, broke his Ramadan fast with a chicken salad, reinforceing the government view poultry meat is still safe to eat. But consumers appear to think otherwise.
Amid reports that nine people were being tested for the disease, poultry sales have plummeted. It has been unofficially reported that those tests have proved negative, but the Turkish public may take some convincing. EU veterinary experts have been having emergency talks on the threat of bird flu. It follows confirmation that Turkey’s outbreak was caused by the H5N1 virus, which is potentially fatal to humans.
The meeting was expected to approve measures to combat the spread of the disease by requiring EU member states to reduce contact between poultry and wild birds in high risk areas. This could include keeping poultry indoors.
Romania will know on Saturday if the H5N1 strain has arrived within its borders after tests are completed in the UK.
A second suspected Romanian case is now being investigated.
Turkey and Romania are taking measures to counter the spread of the disease and thousands of birds have been culled. The EU has banned imports of live poultry and feathers from the two countries,and the European Commission has advised member states to stockpile anti-viral drugs in case of a pandemic.