With the European Union insisting that the risk of people catching bird flu is minimal, Russia has told the bloc that a deadly bird flu outbreak has spread westwards to around 200km south of Moscow.
Germany has now ordered all poultry to be kept indoors, to avoid contact with migrating birds believed to be spreading the disease.
Romania and Turkey are also fighting an outbreak of the H5N1 strain of the virus, which has killed over 60 people in Asia since 2003.Greece has to wait until next week to find out if the bird flu found in a turkey on an Aegean Sea island is H5N1.Health minister Nikitas Kaklamanis, visiting Oinouses, said the discovery there did not represent an immediate threat to humans. He made a point of eating chicken.
Some locals say media coverage is creating groundless fears, amid reports most pharmacies in Athens have run out of seasonal flu vaccines. If H5N1 mutates to a form that spreads easily from person to person – and not all scientists think it will – a new vaccine is the best hope of avoiding thousands of deaths.
Hungary says a prototype that it has been testing has proved promising. Britain is now inviting drug manufacturers to tender contracts to supply 120 million doses – two shots per inhabitant – in the case of a pandemic.
However, it could take six months after a pandemic strain emerges to develop a vaccine.