European Union foreign ministers have been holding an emergency meeting in Luxembourg to discuss the bird flu alert affecting Europe.
It comes after the disease was discovered in a turkey on a Greek island, the first instance of bird flu in the EU. British foreign minister Jack Straw said the fight against the virus required a global effort. “A huge amount of effort is going in to provide advice and assistance to Greece, Romania, Turkey and the Russian Federation, and to other countries around the world, a great deal of effort to ensure there are adequate contingency plans to deal with any transfer of avian flu to humans,” he said before going into the meeting. As the EU deals with the discovery of bird flu within its borders Romania has announced new cases there. One was detected in a swan in a village close to the border with Ukraine. Outbreaks of the H5N1 strain have now been confirmed in Romania and Turkey and suspected cases are being investigated in other countries in the region. The H5N1 is potentialy fatal to humans. Authorities in the affected areas have been culling birds in an effort to contain the disease amid fears it could cause a pandemic among humans.