The bird flu virus that has spread to Turkey has been confirmed as the H5N1 strain that is dangerous to humans. There is no anti-viral drug available specifically for this disease, although the EU says other products could be effective.
European Commissioner for health Markos Kyprianou said: “We have received now confirmation that the virus found in Turkey is an avain flu H5N1 high pathogenic virus.”
“Our experts team which was on location in Romania performed some tests with our reagents and it was confirmed again that it was the H5 virus. We don’t know the rest of the strain, we don’t know if it was the one in Turkey.”
Kyprianou said migratory birds could transmit the virus.
The news confirms that potentially lethal bird flu, which has killed more than 60 people in Asia since 2003, has reached southeastern Europe.
The Commission says it is working on the assumption that the strain found in Romania is the deadly version. There authorities plan to cull 15,000 birds.
EU experts on avian influenza and migratory birds will hold an emergency meeting on Friday.
They are expected to advise precautions to be taken in Romania and Turkey, including asking travellers to avoid visiting farms.