The European Commission is warning that Europe must prepare for the risk of a bird flu pandemic after cases in Turkey were tested positive for the virus’ most deadly strain. In Romania, final tests are underway to determine whether samples identified there last week could also kill humans.
EU health commissioner Markos Kyprianou said: “In Turkey, there is the H5N1. Of course there is the possiblity of the Romanian strain being a different one. But at this point, given that the H5N1 is the most aggressive one we know, we will work in the committee with the assumption that this is also the case in Romania.” Russia first reported a strain of the deadly virus in a wild bird in Siberia in 2004. Along with Romania and Turkey, they are the only countries on the European continent to have reported bird flu so far. Thousands of birds have been culled in Romania to prevent the spread of the virus. “The bird flu virus knows no frontiers. If it is not strictly controlled here in Romania, it certainly will spread further,” said Dutch expert Guus Koch. The EU has banned the import of live birds, poultry meat and feathers from Romania for at least six months.